Feral Hogs

Herd of javelina absolutely massacre top-25 Arizona golf course

October 23, 2023

It seems like practically every day we get news of some hotshot destroying a golf course with their pickup truck. This year alone we saw an entire dirt bike crew tear through a Delaware course in broad daylight and a Champions Tour venue vandalized 36 hours before the tournament was scheduled to begin. It’s getting worse and worse out there—boredom is rampant, crime is a viral trend now, yadda yadda yadda—but the man-made destruction can’t hold a candle to what’s been happening at this top Arizona golf course. If you’re sensitive to graphic golf gore, now’s the time to look away.

That was the scene at Seven Canyons Golf Club in Sedona as captured by superintendent Em Casey on Sunday morning. But it wasn’t humans or weather or some sort of extraterrestrial blight that caused this — it was a pack of adorable boar-like animals called javelinas.


Teresa Kopec

Don’t let their cuddly appearance fool you, however. Javelinas are stubborn and stout. They defend their territory aggressively and sometimes fighting each other to the death over a prickly pear, their favorite snack. They travel in herds of five to 15, though some as large as 50 have been reported. When moving in numbers, even cougars—one of earth’s apex predators—are afraid from them. So what chance does a greenskeeper stand?

That’s a good question, and one Casey is desperately looking to answer. As you can see from the video, the damage to Seven Canyons—ranked the 24th best golf course in Arizona by Golf Digest in 2023—is extensive, bordering on catastrophic. But you can’t just hire an exterminator. Javelinas are classified as a “big game species” under Arizona law, making it unlawful to trap, injure or kill them — even in situations where they may be causing danger or damage — without meeting a “rigorous” set of provisions. Where that leaves Seven Canyons remains to be seen, but here’s hoping this pack have had their fill and have moved on to greener pastures ... or perhaps fairways.

Seven Canyons
Seven Canyons
Sedona, AZ
Situated in the Coconino National Forest in Sedona, Seven Canyons is a picturesque desert layout with views of the surrounding jagged rockfaces that characterize the region. The course is not long (playing even shorter at 4,500-feet elevation) and instead prioritizes accuracy with narrow fairways and small greens. The scenic course cracked our Second 100 Greatest ranking in 2013-2014 and has consistently ranked among our Best in Arizona.
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