Some 18 months later, Palmyra’s golf ball mystery doesn’t appear to have been solved.
“Funny,” resident Randy McKillop told LebTown in an online message recently, he had “just talked about the golf ball mystery the other day.” However, McKillop said, “I haven’t heard anything lately.”
McKillop said golf balls appeared “numerous times” in the parking lot at Londonderry Limo. But, he said, “no one has seen a golf ball this year.”
The odd, ongoing prank was revealed in a LebTown article on July 2, 2020. Scott Rhine was at the time a manager at Klick Lewis, a new and used car dealership on East Main Street, and he began posting messages on the Palmyra FYI Facebook group that summer about a strange and ongoing problem: someone was leaving golf balls all over the neighborhood, including the dealership’s lot.
The odd appearances had begun some 18 to 24 months before, Rhine told LebTown in 2020. He said the balls would appear sometime overnight and he would find them – sometimes just a few, sometimes several dozen — scattered each morning when he arrived at work. Some of them were even high-quality balls, Rhine said, and he – an avid golfer – was enjoying the windfall.
At the time of the initial LebTown report, Rhine said he’d collected thousands of them. Employees at Klick Lewis were gathering them in a large box, he said, and they were using the damaged balls for practice and the good balls — “Some of them are Titleist Pro V1 balls, which are the cream of the crop. Top of the line,” Rhine said — on the links.
The LebTown story was quickly picked up by Golf Digest, which called it “the strangest story we’ve ever heard involving golf balls.”
The story was also picked up by Archysport.com, which repurposes sports stories from various sources. While Golf Digest wrote its own version of the story, Archysport appears to simply have run LebTown’s original article through some form of translation software.
Note the differences. LebTown’s original story began with the following: “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?” Archysport’s story began similarly, but not quite the same: “He is like Arnold Palmer’s son of love and the Easter Bunny has lived secretly in Palmyra for the past two years. If not, who left the golf balls on the streets, plots and meadows of the city?”
Anyway, it seemed like it was time to check to see if there have been any updates to the mysterious appearances. Getting an answer was harder than we thought.
Rhine read but did not respond to requests for comment from LebTown on the story. Jared Uhrich, a sales consultant who responded by email to an enquiry to Klick Lewis, said Rhine no longer works there.
However, Uhrich declined to say if golf balls were still appearing, saying only that the current sales manager “remembered this story.” Ulrich did not respond to several requests for further information, nor would he connect a reporter to his manager.
But Klick Lewis had posted several Facebook messages about the enigmatic appearances back in 2020, and several nearby residents had commented then on the dealership’s quirky conundrum. LebTown checked in with some of them, like McKillop, who gave varying reports.
“No, we haven’t seen any for quite awhile. Since before the pandemic, I believe,” said Judy Heisey Cowles. “That’s all I know other than what was written about this.”
Barb Keller agreed that she hadn’t seen any golf balls in a while. “As far as I know no explanation ever surfaced,” she said.
Michaela Lee said that, over the summer her in-laws were still finding a few a week in their yard.
“Still no idea who is doing it though!” she said. “Gives us a good laugh when we find some.”
So, who has an answer?
Rhine said in 2020 that he had 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 at the time. “It’s like they just appear.”
Besides the dealership, he said, balls were turning up in surrounding areas including Cherry, Maple, Forge and Prince streets, Ridge Road, West Main Street and Horseshoe Pike. Nothing ever was caught on the dealership’s surveillance cameras, either, he noted, and there weren’t any golf courses or driving ranges close by.
Although the consensus among local residents was it was some sort of prank, it still had some people worried. Some residents fretted that it could lead to vandalism. Others suggested Klick Lewis employees were planting the balls themselves, hoping for some free publicity.
There were theories, certainly, but nothing was ever proven and the prankster was never identified.
“Where does one get so many golf balls to play this prank?” Arissa Farr May wondered in 2020.
Where indeed? If anyone knows the truth of the Palmyra golf ball hobgoblin, please drop the writer of this story a line at [email protected]. We’ll be glad to share the details!
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