It’s like the lovechild of Arnold Palmer and the Easter Bunny has been living secretly in Palmyra for the last two years.
If not, then who has been leaving golf balls on the streets, lots, and lawns of the town?
“I have no idea. Honestly, it’s been an ongoing thing,” Scott Rhine said Wednesday. “It’s crazy.”
Rhine is a manager at Klick Lewis, a new and used car dealership on East Main Street. He said golf balls started appearing on the car lot and surrounding streets 18 to 24 months ago — and it hasn’t stopped.
“There’s been no damage,” he said. “It’s not an issue, it’s not a problem with vandalism. They just randomly appear.”
The balls appear overnight and are there when employees arrive in the morning, Rhine explained.
There were 31 balls scattered around the dealership Wednesday morning, he said. The day before, there were 59.
Some mornings there are only three or four balls to be found, Rhine said. The most he’s found in one day was 65.
“It’s become a joke,” he said. “Every morning we go for a walk to look for them.”
So far, nothing has been caught on the dealership’s surveillance cameras that shows who’s putting them there, Rhine said. He noted that there aren’t any golf courses or driving ranges close by.
It’s been going on long enough that Rhine posted a message about it on a Palmyra Facebook group about a month ago, he said.
“We got a lot of responses,” he said. “It’s just all over Palmyra. It’s a phenomenon.”
Balls have also turned up in surrounding areas including Cherry, Maple, Forge and Prince streets, Ridge Road, West Main Street and Horseshoe Pike, Rhine said.
Residents of the area were quick to chime in, either with questions about the issue, theories about the balls’ origins or stories of their own golf-ball encounters.
“We get golf balls in our yard over on the other side of town, on Lingle Ave.,” wrote Megan Escobar. “It’s so strange!”
“I live on West Cherry down by the cemetery,” Nichole Melissa said. “They are in our yard ALL the time! Where are they coming from?!?!”
“All over in town,” agreed Tracy Crosson. “Every time we take a walk, my dog comes home with 2 in his mouth.”
“WTH is this?!?” asked Keith Reh, who said the phenomenon could be explained “once or twice … perhaps a bored group of teens; this is getting worrysome considering there are houses right behind the dealership … vandalism might be next.”
“But where does one get so many golf balls to play this prank?” Arissa Farr May wondered.
“Ok, I’m camping out,” promised Shane Sutherly. “Mystery needs solved.”
It’s a mystery at the municipal offices, too.
“I don’t know anything about it,” Palmyra Borough manager Roger E. Powl said Thursday. “It’s the first I heard of it.”
Powl said he asked police, and “they’re aware of it … but we’ve never had any official reports made. There’s never been any reports of damage or anything like that. We’re really just as much in the dark as everyone else is.”
He said anyone who sees or suspects anything about the mysterious golf balls should call police “and maybe they can figure out what’s going on there.”
Rhine said he has never reported the matter to police because no crime has been committed.
“No cars have ever been damaged. No windows, no doors, nothing,” he said. “It’s like they just appear.”
In fact, he said, if the phenomenon stopped, “I’d be upset. I’m getting free golf balls.”
Thousands, in fact. Rhine said employees at the dealership collect them in a large box, and they put them to use — mostly for practice, he said, because they’re not always in the greatest shape. But sometimes, he noted, they end up on the links.
“I’m an avid golfer. My colleagues are also avid golfers,” Rhine said. “And some of them are Titleist Pro V1 balls, which are the cream of the crop. Top of the line.”
There’s no consistency in the type of ball, however. Some, he said, have “Palmyra Cougars” imprinted on them.
Unfortunately, he added, “most of them are junk. They’ve been hit by cars, some have been run over. They get wedged into the drains on Prince Street.”
Ultimately, Rhine would like to see the mystery solved someday.
“Everybody is to that point,” he said. “It’s not damaging anything, so far as the business goes we really don’t care. But we’d love to know where they’re coming from.”
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This article was updated with comment from the Palmyra Borough.