Over forty-four years ago, on February 6, 1971, astronaut Alan Shepard, Jr. hit two golf balls on the Moon. People have long speculated as to the brand of golf balls which remain on the Moon. Today, we know that those golf balls bear the famous Daisy logo.
Astronauts were permitted to bring personal items on missions and Apollo 14 commanded Shepard brought along two golf balls and a six iron head. In a video on display at the Daisy Airgun Museum in downtown Rogers, Arkansas, Shepard is shown taking several clumsy one-handed swings (due to the limited flexibility of the EVA suit) using that head affixed to a lunar excavation tool handle.
Since crews were not allowed to do any commercial promotion, the maker of the golf balls was never made public. However, an Apollo 14 crew photo, in the new display at the Daisy Airgun Museum includes signatures of Alan B. Shepard, Edgar Mitchel, and Stuart Roosa, along with their hand-written note:
““To Jack Powers…..
Our most sincere thanks for the
Daisy golf balls by Victor…… They are
out of this world!””
Jack Powers joined Daisy in 1960 and served as a senior public relations executive for over twenty years. It was Powers who made the suggestion that the Apollo 14 crew play golf on the moon using Daisy golf balls. The autographed Apollo mission photos were discovered in the attic of a home owned by Powers’ family. Contact with heirs of the estate resulted in the museum’s acquisition of the photos along with an interview which divulged the long-held secret of Daisy golf balls on the Moon.
Earlier in his career, Jack Powers had taken a new job as Executive Director of the Sport Fishing Institute in Washington, D.C. He and his family moved into a townhouse which was one of six identical townhouses. One evening Jack came home from work and mistakenly entered the wrong townhouse. His abrupt introduction to the residents, Albert M. (Al) and Dee Chop, began a lifelong friendship.
Al Chop served as public information officer for the Air Force’s “Project Blue Book” which gathered and studied information about UFO sightings. Al eventually was the subject of a 1956 documentary called “UFO”. He and Jack Powers remained friends as Jack became a senior executive for Daisy and Al applied his public relations skills at NASA. Al’s voice could sometimes be heard from mission control during a space launch.
The parent company of Daisy, at the time of the Apollo 14 mission, was Victor Comptometer Corporation. Victor’s holdings included, at that time, Daisy, Heddon Lures, Burke Golf Equipment Corporation (PGA Golf), and Worthington Ball Company. Golf balls were produced with the Victor and Daisy logos and Jack Powers made the suggestion that the Apollo 14 crew play golf on the moon using Daisy golf balls.
Jack and his wife Virginia visited Al and Dee many times in Florida to watch launchings and several Apollo crews came to visit Daisy in Rogers, Arkansas. The Daisy Museum display includes autographed photos of the crews of Apollo 12, 14, 16 and 17.
Alan Bartlett “Al” Shepard, Jr. (November 18, 1923 – July 21, 1998), in 1961, became the second person and the first American to travel into space. It was ten years later, in 1971, that Shepard commanded the Apollo 14 mission, became the fifth and oldest person to walk on the Moon and the only person to play golf on a surface other than earth.
The display of autographed Apollo Mission photos, video and Victor Daisy golf ball, circa 1971, are now on display at the Daisy Airgun Museum, 202 West Walnut, Rogers, Arkansas and available for viewing Monday through Saturday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
The Daisy Airgun Museum is a 501c3 corporation, dedicated to the preservation of the rich heritage of Daisy airguns and the operation of a museum, tourist attraction and gift shop. The museum features displays of airguns and related artifacts and offers audio and self-guided tours for individuals and guided tours for groups.