Apollo 14: The Ultimate Sand Trap

by Chris Carosa

What’s more American than apple pie, baseball and…

Apollo 14 Astronaut Alan Shepard Golfs on the Moon. Release Date: February 6, 1971; Image Source: NASA (Public Domain)

…golf?! Sure Scotland may take credit for inventing the game, but leave it for a witty American to take the sport to its greatest heights – literally!

Nothing says this more than the jovial astronaut himself, live from the moon and facing the TV camera:

Houston, while you’re looking that up, you might recognize what I have in my hand as the handle for the contingency sample return; it just so happens to have a genuine six iron on the bottom of it. In my left hand, I have a little white pellet that’s familiar to millions of Americans. I’ll drop it down. Unfortunately, the suit is so stiff, I can’t do this with two hands, but I’m going to try a little sand-trap shot here. (Pause)

After several abortive attempts and two balls, Shepard nailed the ball, looked up and said, “Miles and miles and miles.”

Of course, it really didn’t go that far. And Alan Shepard wasn’t the only sportsman about Apollo 14. Lunar module pilot Edgar Mitchell threw a makeshift javelin. The balls and the javelin remain on the moon to this day, an eternal testament to the popularity of sports – and imports – to the American Culture.

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