Everest 4-iron added to museum

Club used to hit balls from world highest elevated tee gets pride of place

Golfmagic correspondent
Wed, 30 Apr 2008

Everest 4-iron added to museum

Historic golf club
Vaughan (right) reaches the summit of Mt Everest

A makeshift golf club - a 4-iron from a women's set - will take pride of place in the US Golf Association museum in New Jersey, when it is donated by Texan mountaineer and golfer Robert Vaughn on June 3.

The intrepid 10 handicapper used the club to strike three golf balls from the summit of Mount Everest - the world's tallest peak - in 2007.

Each was struck at 29,035 feet above sea level - two towards Tibet, the other in the direction of Nepal - as part of Vaughn's dream to play golf shots from the ultimate elevated tee.

The 52-year-old oil executive from Dallas has been climbing the world's tallest peaks since 1983 but when he accepted the club from a friend and bought three balls at the airport, he pressed on with his ambition, despite the extra weight in his back pack.

Historic golf club
Almost there! Vaughn (centre) nears the summit

Vaughn reveals that the journey from Base Camp in Nepal to the summit of Mount Everest takes six weeks with climbers stopping to get acclimated to the altitude.

After an aborted first attempt when he literally got 'cold feet', Vaughan successfully made the 11-hour journey from Camp 4 to summit and at 7 a.m. on May 18, and in temperatures of minus 18 degrees Fahrenheit he hit his shots.

Though hampered by heavy clothing and breathing heavily in the thin air, he teed up his golf balls on the ice and blasted them into the atmosphere.

“The air is so thin up there,” Vaughn, who plays at Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas, told the USGA magazine this week . “I was amazed how fast the ball came off the clubface. Who knows how far they went. The two I hit over toward Tibet had about a 10,000-foot drop!”

“It’s a lot like playing a competitive round of golf. You just focus on one shot at a time and you can’t think about the bad things that have happened to you in the past or what might happen to you on the next hole. You just have to have fun and do the best you can right there and then.”

The Vaughn 4-iron will join the Space Shuttle putter, presented to astronaut Alan Duffy, and Alan Shepard’s 6-iron which he used to hit shots on the Moon as part of the Apollo 14 expedition in 1971.

“We are thrilled to add this special club to the USGA Museum,"says Dr. Rand Jerris, the USGA’s director of the Museum and Archives. "It helps us tell the story of one of the most unique aspects of the game. Robert Vaughn’s club shows us that golfers are so passionate about the sport that they find ways to take it with them wherever they might be – even in the most extreme environments.”

How passionate are you about golf? To what extremes have you gone to play a round or just hit one shot? Tell us on the forum.