How many golf balls are there on the moon? You may think this is a silly question but if you are a golfing enthusiast then this would probably have crossed your mind several times.
Who would have made the golf shot? How did the balls even get up there? These are all pressing questions that you demand answers of immediately.
Read on to figure out if there really are golf balls on the moon. The answer is bound to surprise you!
The Amount Of Golf Balls On The Moon
On earth, we have no idea how many golf balls have been played and it is frankly impossible for anyone to put an exact figure on that amount.
However we do know an exact figure for the moon and currently that is two golf balls. An astronaut from the Apollo 14 space project took two up to the moon with him for his expedition.
Humans had set foot on the moon numerous times before this expedition but no one had brought up golf balls for a round of “ lunar golf “.
Who Hit Golf Balls On The Moon?
So who exactly hit these golf balls on the moon?
In 1961, an astronaut named Alan Shepard became the first American Astronaut to head successfully into space thanks to the Mercury-Redstone 3 mission.
This made him the second astronaut on the planet to make a space flight after the Soviet Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin made a space flight before him.
Alan Shepard became the 5th astronaut to set foot on the moon as part of the Apollo 14 project and also set a new record for the longest time served on the moon.
On this Apollo 14 trip, Shepard also made history for becoming the first man to play golf on the moon.
When Did The Golf Shot Happen?
Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon in 1969. Two years later, Alan Shepard brought home a new record in becoming the first person to play golf on the moon.
Alan Shepard, as previously mentioned, came to the moon on Apollo 14 which landed on February 6th 1971. By swinging his golf club and hitting the golf ball, Alan Shepard made golfing history.
What Type Of Golf Club Was Used To Play Golf On The Moon?
On their Apollo 14 mission, Alan Shepard and a second astronaut stepped out of the lunar module and embarked on two walks. Their mission on the moon was to collect more than 45kg of rocks for an experiment.
Before embarking on his trip to the moon, Shepard had planned to do something special that could make history.
He took a club head 6 from earth and made sure it was modified and customized so that it was prepared for a Lunar golf swing.
In order to avoid public attention of the club, he sneakily hid it within his socks and brought it on with him to the spaceship.
The number 6 club head was used as it was adjustable so would easily fit into his socks and would have been easier to hide.
The club head weighed 467 grams and the shaft was made up of flexible hollow segments that could be shortened or lengthened completely at will.
How Far Does A Golf Ball Go On The Moon?
At an event that marked the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 14, Andy Saunders , an old photo regeneration expert, worked with the American Golf Association to re-engineer six photos from that flight.
As a result of these pictures, Saunders successfully calculated how far the two golf balls were hit. He claimed that the first golf ball travelled a distance of 24 yards and the second golf ball traveled a distance of around 40 yards.
Due to his spacesuit, Shepard could only hold the club with one hand so therefore swung just four times with his right hand.
At an initial first look, the ball track was estimated at 200 yards. However, as a result of further image analysis, experts calculated that the third shot was 24 yards and that the last hit 40 yards with the ball being airborne for around 30 seconds.
This is as a result of the moon’s environment, as the gravity is six times smaller than it is on Earth. This means that 200 yards on Earth would be 1200 yards on the moon and a jump of one metre on Earth is equivalent to six metres on the moon.
Where Are The 2 Golf Balls Now?
The two golf balls that were taken up to the moon are still there to this day but Shepard did bring back the 6-iron club head and the two-ball sock.
When the Apollo 14 crew returned back to Earth, Alan Shepard donated the famous golf club to the Golf Association Museum in America in 1974.
The United States Golf Association still has the club on display to this day. The National Air and Space museum also holds a replica version of the golf club.
These are all the answers when it comes to playing golf on the moon. Is it what you expected?
For all you golfing fans out there, I’d imagine you didn’t expect golf to have been played on the moon. Now you have a fun fact to reveal to friends and family and you know all the details!