Somewhere in the dark recesses of my memories lives my long-forgotten teenager sensibilities. This is the version of myself that delighted in immature pranks, like toilet papering a classmate’s cottonwood trees and playing ding-dong ditch.
I’ll admit it: my teenaged self would absolutely understand the allure of whacking a golf ball off of the side of the Grand Canyon and watching it disappear into the chasm below. Hey, another hole in one! But even at my height of immaturity, I would have realized that such an action was dangerous, wrong, and probably not worth actually doing.
Not everyone was blessed with such common sense, I suppose. On Thursday, NPS officials posted an update on the Grand Canyon’s official Facebook page about a woman who filmed herself hitting golf balls into the canyon, which she then uploaded to TikTok. In the video, the woman also loses the grip on a golf club and flings it off the cliffside.
According to the update, the incident occurred on Wednesday, October 26, at Mather Point, which is a short walk from the canyon’s main visitor center. Media reports said the TikTok video had already been taken down, but users on Reddit were able to upload and preserve it. Thus, the video lives on.
Officials acted swiftly, and with the help of the general public, were able to track down the woman. According to the update, law enforcement found her on Thursday, October 27, and charges against her are currently pending. The release did not reveal the individual’s name.“Do we really need to say, ‘Don’t hit golf balls into the Grand Canyon?’” officials wrote alongside the update. “Throwing objects over the rim of the canyon is not only illegal but can also endanger hikers and wildlife who may be below.”
The point where the woman was whacking the golf ball was several thousand feet from the nearby Kaibab trail, which is the main thoroughfare for hikers hoping to reach the bottom of the trail—even Tiger Woods would have been lucky to uncork a drive that far. But still, her actions were unmistakably careless and dangerous—hikers regularly lose the trail in the Grand Canyon and end up walking along cliff faces and buttresses in an effort to reach the top. Golf balls are known to do serious damage to the human skull, and if anyone suffered a major head injury while also navigating one of the most remote and hard-to-reach places in the country, their chances of survival would be slim.
Plus, golf balls and golf clubs don’t exactly biodegrade. And now, her club and ball will forever be located next to rocks from the Paleozoic era.
At Outside, we come across a litany of stories of people behaving badly in the outdoors, and this year has been a busy one. There were the high schoolers who booted a football off of Colorado’s Uncompaghre Peak, the dudes who were photographed scrawling graffiti in chalk on a rock at the Grand Canyon, and the never-ending march of tourists getting too close to animals at Yellowstone National Park.
But the Grand Canyon golfer is, in my opinion, the worst. As I wrote in my story about the football kick, pinnacles like mountain summits (or canyon rims) are not the place for projectiles. Too much can go wrong. Your ball or frisbee might end up there forever. And even if the chances of hitting someone are slim, doing so is made so much more dangerous by the remoteness of the location. Leave the golf clubs at home—even your average teenager knows that.