Don’t you hate it when you see one of your golf balls vanish into a pond? As a golfer, there isn’t much worse than a water hazard, other than hitting it out of bounds past a boundary fence.
When you hit in the water it’s easy to get angry, frustrated, and think about how one shot can derail an entire round. To make matters worse, sometimes it’s a brand-new golf ball or one that you’ve only played a few holes. That is an insult to injury!
Not to mention, some golf balls are $4 or $5 per ball. On top of green fees, range balls, and food/drinks, it makes for an expensive day on the links.
Luckily, some ponds and lakes are shallow enough that you can find your ball. Sure, you still have to take a penalty stroke but it stings a bit less when you can find the ball and not lose $4 or $5 bucks.
The easiest way to scoop your ball out of the water is to use a good old fashioned ball retriever. These unique devices make it easy to scoop your ball out of water without risking your golf clubs or potentially going for a swim yourself. While I doubt the Golf Gods love us using these devices, it can make a bad shot a little less bad.
So what is the best golf ball retriever?
In this post, we’ll break down the most common ones available and go over everything you need to know about golf ball retrievers.
Best Golf Ball Retrievers
As the game continues to grow worldwide, there are more and more selections of just about anything golf related. From hundreds of grip options, tons of club manufacturers, and nearly an endless amount of accessories.
Retrievers are no different as there are all kinds of options for golfers to choose from. Here are the best golf ball retrievers.
I GOTCHA Golf Ball Retriever (Overall Best Ball Retriever)
Starting off our list is the retriever from I GOTCHA. This product is incredibly versatile and simple to use for any type of golfer. It extends to 14 foot maximum reach and collapses down to only 17.5 inches which is super impressive.
This is one of the most dependable retrievers on the market and sure to help you in any situation. Here is why the I GOTCHA golf ball retriever made it on our list:
- Super lightweight – only 10 ounces.
- Three sizes available based on shaft length.
- Stainless steel shaft and spring-release ready head.
- Small enough to easily fit in the apparel pocket of your golf bag.
Callaway Golf Ball Retriever Pocket 6’
One quick search for “best golf ball retriever” and you will get this highly rated one from Callaway. This is a high end ball retriever and it has nearly perfect reviews and is everything you need.
Here is why this golf ball retriever made our list:
- Made with high quality aluminum alloy.
- Ergonomic handle for easy gripping in any conditions.
- Comes with a dual zip head cover so it looks like a normal club in your bag.
- Full size length of six feet when fully extended. Yet, it’s small enough to fit in an apparel pocket of your golf bag when shortened for easy storage.
Prowithlin Golf Ball Retriever (Best Budget Retriever)
If you want to spend the bare minimum on a golf ball retriever but still need something dependable, you’ll love this one. It is a fraction of the price of most golf ball retrievers but still gets the job done.
Here are some of the best features about this golf ball retriever:
- Only 1.3 feet when collapsed – easily fits in the side pocket.
- Won’t rust thanks to stainless steel telescopic technology.
- Lightweight but very sturdy. This device is only seven ounces!
- Automatic locking scoop cup design. This is arguably the best feature about this retriever and makes it incredibly easy to use and not waste any time on the golf course.
JP Lann Golf Ball Retrievers
JP Lann golf ball retrievers are another popular pick with golfers who need help getting lost balls. This rescue retriever made our list because of these benefits:
- Reaches a full nine feet of length
- Super comfortable rubber grip handle
- Easy to spot orange hinged cup
- Adjustable telescoping shaft with locking mechanism
- Aluminum shaft ensures your golf ball retriever won’t rust
This JP Lann retriever and it’s unique orange head is sure to stick out even at full length.
Pelican Golf Ball Retriever
If you want a traditional, old school type of golf ball retriever, the Pelican is for you. While it does have an old school look and feel, it’s still very functional in helping you retrieve your lost golf balls.
Here are some of the top features of this golf ball retriever:
- 3 size options (12, 15, and 18 feet).
- Weighs 1.6 pounds and collapses down to 18 inches.
- Has a lightweight aluminum shaft that won’t rust.
- Has a robust gold yellow nylon cup that makes it easier to retriever your ball than other retrievers.
How to Buy The Right Golf Ball Retriever
Now that you have a full breakdown of all the best retrievers, let’s get into how to pick the right one for you. Aside from checking reviews to ensure it’s high quality materials, use this checklist to compare the best golf ball retrievers and find one for your game.
Length of Golf Ball Retriever (Max Distance)
The first thing you want to consider when buying a golf ball retriever is how far out it goes out at maximum length. Some golf ball retrievers only go a little over 40” while others go more than 60”. And there are even longer ball retriever options too!
The total length usually has a direct effect on the length when it’s fully collapsed too. Ideally, you want one that will be around five feet out to retriever balls but also is small enough to fit in your golf bag comfortably. This way you get the best of both worlds and don’t waste any space in your golf bag.
For most golfers, I suggest a shorter retriever so you can store it in your side pocket easily.
Golf Ball Retriever Head For Added Ball Security
The second thing you want to think about is the type of retriever head, aka scooping mechanism on the retriever. As you’ve probably already noticed from the ones on this list, there are a lot of different types. All golf ball retrievers of course have one goal – avoid the golf ball falling back into the water.
Yet, each design works a little differently than others.
Some have a cup design while others have a more traditional design which I personally find harder to use. Make sure you buy that one makes it easy for you to snag your ball and not fumble around and slow down play.
You also want to find a golf ball retriever with aluminum shaft, instead of a stainless steel shaft to avoid rust. Luckily, most golf ball retrievers are aluminum so you shouldn’t have to worry too much.
Price of Golf Ball Retriever
Of course, price is a factor as well.
With so many clubs and accessories needed, it’s vital to keep costs low and find one that will last you a long time. When buying any golf accessories, make sure to check out recent and overall reviews.
You should also see if there are any warranties and comments from fellow golfers talking about how easy it is to repair if needed. For example, some might be easy to fix a locking mechanism, while others might have an automatic locking device that you need to order separately.
Golf Ball Retriever Grip
Another factor you might want to consider is the grip of your golf ball retriever. Some grips are very ergonomically friendly while others actually have standard golf grips. You want something that is easy to pick up those errant golf balls and allows a tight grip.
Headcover For Your Ball Retriever
Here’s the thing, retrievers are a great way to help you save money and save your ball from drowning in a pond. But no golfer is super proud of having a retriever and usually reserved for beginners or high handicappers.
Luckily though, certain manufacturers now make headcovers that hide them in plain sight. For example, the two options from Callaway blend in as if it’s just another fairway wood or hybrid in your golf bags.
A headcover makes it easy to keep your retriever handy but also not shine a light on the fact that you carry one in the bag.
Accessories With Your Golf Ball Retriever
Finally, see if there are any accessories as well. Some include a matching divot tool, golf towel, and other accessories to make it an even better bang for your buck.
FAQs About Golf Ball Retrievers
Do you have more questions about the best retrievers for your game? If so, hopefully we’ll answer them in the frequently asked questions and answers below.
Do you need a golf ball retriever?
Need is a strong word. I wouldn’t say you “need” one to play golf but it can help, especially if you’re a high handicap golfer who is just learning to play the game.
Since golf balls aren’t cheap, it’s a good way to make sure you don’t waste any money while you’re on the golf course. Plus, you might even help your golfing buddies find there’s as well. Or, find other golf balls and walk away with more than you found.
One thing to note: a lot of balls that have been sitting in the water too long might affect overall ball flight and performance. It’s best to save these golf balls for practice sessions.
How do you become a golf ball retriever?
Yes, this is a real job profession. After hundreds of golfers donate balls to ponds throughout the course, the facility will hire professional divers to come in and clean them out. In fact, you might have even seen them during your rounds and wondered what the heck was going on.
To become a diver, you must be 18 years old and have a certification in scuba diving. Depending on the local rules, you must also have a set number of hours of dive experience so that you’re prepared for anything.
As a golfer, it’s funny to think of someone putting on scuba gear to go clean out a pond that us golfers ruined by accidentally hitting balls into. But hey, someone has to do it!
How do you get golf balls out of a pond?
If your ball decides to go for a swim, there are a few ways you can get it out and put it back in play.
The first and easiest way is using one of the ball retrievers from this list. This will make it less likely you accidentally fall in the water, get your golf clubs wet, and not waste time trying to fish for it.
Other ways to fish a ball out of the pond include using a bunker rake (if one is close by) or a golf club. If you do use a club, make sure to use a long iron and avoid getting the grip wet. If a ball is too far, sometimes you have to cut your losses, take a drop with a new golf ball, and move on.
Does a golf ball retriever count as a club?
This is a good question as the USGA firmly sets a limit of 14 clubs in your bag. If you have too many clubs, you’ll get penalized or possibly disqualified from events.
Luckily, retrievers do not count as a club. According to the Rules of Golf, a club must have a shaft and head to qualify for one of our 14 clubs. So things like alignment aids, umbrellas, or retrievers do not count against your total number of clubs.
Related Items To Compliment Your Golf Ball Retriever
Finally, let’s not forget about some related items that will also help your golf game too. Here are some of the most common golf accessories that are directly related to retrievers to help make the game easier.
- 3 Prong Golf Retriever. If you hate bending down to pick up on your golf ball (or back doesn’t make it easy), you will love this low-cost accessory. It screws directly into your grip and makes it incredibly easy to grab your ball without having to bend over. Click here to buy one now.
- Golf Shag Bag. If you want to practice with purpose, you should use a shag bag with old golf balls that you use on the course. Instead of using range balls, which are very hard and not realistic to most golf balls, use old worn down balls instead. This will help you replicate the spin, practice with purpose, and not bend over nearly as much. You can opt for a traditional shag bag like the Durarange shag bag which holds up to 70 balls and comes with an outside pocket. Or, you can go the more patriotic and fun route with the “How True” bag that has a huge bald eagle and flag design too. And of course, don’t forget the iconic original shag bag as well which is available in three colors and holds up to 80 golf balls.
- Golf Ball Tube. While shag bags are great, they might get too heavy once you have a ton of golf balls in there or take up too much room in your locker or car. A great alternative is an aluminum tube from Champkey that makes it easy to reach golf balls and practice more efficiently. It holds 16-18 golf balls and is much lighter than a full on shag bag.
Final Thoughts on The Best Golf Ball Retriever
Losing golf balls sucks but when you have one of the best golf ball retrievers from this list, you can save those new golf balls! While it’s not a piece of golf equipment that all of us want, it can make a big difference and help you grab balls easily. Quit using your golf clubs to retrieve balls and instead, use a retractable golf ball retriever!
As you can tell, there are a ton of great options to help you save your golf ball from living out it’s life on the bottom of a pond. In all seriousness though, these tools are great for beginner golfers and someone who doesn’t want to waste money every time they hit a ball in the water.
While they are useful, please make sure that if you use one that it doesn’t screw up your pace of play. There is nothing worse than being behind a group of golfers who spend 5 minutes trying to save a golf ball.
If you can see the ball and it’s in reach, grab it. If not, take your medicine, drop the ball and move on.