BROWNS SUMMIT, N.C. — "They're everywhere!" Browns Summit resident Justin Emma explained.
One day, Emma walked out of the front door of his house to find dozens of golf balls in his front yard. He had no idea where they'd come from.
"First, I was confused. I thought it was a squirrel," Emma said. "I saw one or two of them, but then it was 40! I was kind of getting angry."
The mystery of the magically-appearing golf balls lasted for several days, as they kept landing in his yard off Fairhaven Road, near Burton-Farm Road.
Despite knocking on several neighbors' doors, he still couldn't solve the mystery.
"It's like an Easter egg hunt," Emma said. "They're all different colors and my kids like picking them up. I just don't want to hit them with the lawnmower because it really makes a big bang."
After exhausting every last option in his search, Emma had only one theory left.
"It just led us to believe it had to be coming from Foxdale, which is on the other side of those trees over there across the pond. It is quite a bit away, up to the house, though," he said.
200 yards, in fact. But Emma was right. Although, the culprit was who he least expected - 12-year-old Matthew Wilson.
"I was shocked that I was hitting them to his yard and not in the woods or lake," Wilson said.
Wilson had been practicing his swing in the backyard of his grandparents' home right behind Emma's property. Little did they know, some of his golf balls weren't landing in the woods.
"Me and my mom went to Justin's house to pick up the balls and apologize for hitting them in his yard," The golf phenom said.
From time to time, Wilson's grandfather, LG Cotton, watches him practice his swing in the backyard. It's fitting, considering grandpa bought him his own set of clubs when he was just six years old.
"For the most part, he listens to me, but then he tends to forget a lot," Cotton said.
It's an activity these two enjoy spending time together, although it might have to move to the driving range sooner rather than later.
"Well, you got all those trees to contend with and the pond to contend with," Wilson's grandpa said. "I couldn't believe those golf balls landed in his front yard! But could you give us our golf balls back? Haha!"
But now that Emma knows where these mysterious golf balls are coming from, he’s been returning every single one he finds. In fact, Emma has since invited Wilson to practice his swing in his own yard.
Wilson says he will still hit balls from his grandparents' backyard but is eager to see his practice pay off in a more fitting location: the golf course.
"I'm afraid he's just getting started," Wilson's mother said. "And I'm finding out how expensive golf is."