Alan Shepard ‘plays’ golf

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At the age of 47, Alan Shepard was the oldest astronaut in the program when he landed on the Moon in February 1971 on Apollo 14. It was America’s third successful lunar landing mission, the first to successfully broadcast color pictures, and eventually the most accurate landing of the entire Apollo program.

While on the Moon, Shepard played golf with a Wilson six-iron head that he had smuggled onboard. Despite thick gloves and a stiff spacesuit which forced him to swing the club with one hand only, Shepard struck two golf balls with a six iron, driving the second, as he jokingly put it, “miles and miles and miles.”

The photo of Shepard hitting the golf ball fueled the Moon Landing hoax conspiracy theories when a book Moon Shot he co-wrote with fellow Apollo astronaut Deke Slayton included a photograph of Shepard playing golf on the Moon with another astronaut. The picture is an obviously fake composite image, there being no one else to take the shot of the two (although there are videos of Shephard and Edgar Mitchell setting up the golf game). Not only was the picture a combination of several Hasselblad shots, but the golf club, ball, the S-Band legs and some shadows were drawn in. The publishers of the book created the image because the existing real video images were too grainy to present in a book’s picture section.