These Animals Are Tearing Up a Luxury Golf Course


Seven Canyons is a 200-acre private golf course ranked among the top 25 courses in Arizona by Golf Digest . But the luxury course in Sedona is looking a little worse for wear as of late, with what the Guardian describes as “a sprawling patchwork of oversized divots that would put even the most hapless hacker to shame.” Golfers aren’t to blame. Rather, javelinas, or collared peccaries, hoofed herbivores that resemble hogs, have been wreaking havoc on the fairways and roughs of the course in the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness area. Native to the southwestern US, the animals travel in herds, tearing up land while searching for roots and tubers on which to feed.
Seven Canyons’ assistant superintendent, Emily Casey, has been documenting the golf course destruction in photos and videos shared online. One video posted over the weekend, showing large sections of upturned dirt, had received more than 30 million views as of Thursday morning. “What should be one of the most beautiful golf courses in the country is being destroyed by herds of javelina,” Casey wrote on X. “It’s 100% javelina … I’ve watched them do it,” she added, noting up to 150 javelinas in four to five herds “surround the golf course property.” “They only arrived in the Arizona desert within the last century or two, and they’ve been moving north in recent decades,” environmental reporter Benji Jones writes at Vox. Footage suggests they’ve been spotted at Seven Canyons since at least 2009.
While the golf club is clearly frustrated and experimenting with using chile oil as a deterrent, social media users were quick to point to the larger issue of human encroachment on animal habitats. Many have been using the hashtag #TeamJavelina, per the Washington Post. Jones notes that “if we continue mucking up their landscapes, we shouldn’t blame them for mucking up ours.” As one of the fastest-growing states, Arizona is quickly replacing grasslands, deserts, and woodlands with housing developments and shopping centers. Therefore, javelinas “really don’t have much choice but to use artificial resources” like golf courses, Alexandra Burnett, a doctoral researcher at the University of Arizona who studies javelinas, tells Jones. “That’s how they’ll survive.” (Read more Arizona stories.)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here