How Many Golf Balls Are On The Moon?

How Many Golf Balls Are On The Moon?

Certainly, you’ve heard of many astronauts who journeyed to the moon. But did you know that a few have left their own special mementos behind?

Various sources claim that on our lunar companion, there are several leftovers, like an olive branch made of gold, five American flags, a family photo frame, and even a javelin. It is also said that one astronaut had also forgotten some golf balls when returning home.

Sitting near Shepard’s first ball is a pole from a solar wind experiment, tossed by crewmate Edgar Mitchell that is known as Javelin.

Golf balls on the moon? That might sound like an odd concept, but it’s actually a very interesting factoid.

How many golf balls are on the moon?

There are two golf balls on the moon’s surface that astronaut Alan Shepard hit during the Apollo 14 mission in 1971.

Astronaut Alan Shepard was the first American in space and the fifth person to ever take a step on the moon. Yet what truly sets him apart is that he was the only person to play golf outside of Earth’s atmosphere!

Alan Shepard, Commander of Apollo 14, hit three golf balls in the Moon’s Fra Mauro region, of  which two balls remain there today, as per NASA.

Golf balls seen on Moon surface

His words: 

“Houston, you might recognize what I have in my hand as the contingency sample return; it just so happens to have a genuine 6-iron on the bottom of it,” Shepard said. “In my left hand, I have a little white pellet that’s familiar to millions of Americans.”

He had hit golf balls with the help of a golf club he had created. His first two golf shots were less than ideal. In the first one, he got more dirt than the ball, and the second golf ball flew, resulting in a golf slice shot.

First golf shot on moon
Source – USGA

But his third golf swing flew the ball soaring for “miles and miles and miles,” getting a straight shot reported by Shepard himself!

While it might seem strange to think about golf balls on the Moon, they serve as a reminder of the incredible achievements of space exploration and the potential for humans to one day establish a permanent presence on the lunar surface.

How far did the golf ball hit on the moon go?

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 14 mission, imaging specialist Andy Saunders partnered with the USGA to find an answer to this difficult inquiry. He created a remarkable, high-quality composite by digitally improving six archival images from the mission and merging them into a single panorama.

With this image, Saunders could calculate the respective distances of both balls. He concluded that ball one had gone twenty-four yards and two forty yards, but it was not a bad feat when you consider golfing on the moon’s surface similar to hitting out of a bunker!

As Saunders himself professed, “the moon is basically one colossal, unraked rock pile disguised as a bunker!”

With only one-sixth of Earth’s gravity and no air resistance, it is theoretically possible for a skilled golfer to hit the golf ball ‘miles and miles and miles’ on the moon. However, due to the limitations of current space suits, this may remain an impossible feat for now.

 With his makeshift club and restrictive suit, including a helmet and gloves, he generated significantly less power than usual since there was not enough gravity to pull downwards on his clubhead.


Clearly, this achievement’s legacy will continue to inspire people for generations in the golf world. We can only speculate what could have been achieved with a real set of clubs, but whatever the outcome has been, it is truly a memorable experience. 

Until then, we can only marvel at the legacy of Alan Shepard and the many other astronauts who have ventured out into uncharted territory in search of exploration and discovery.

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