Golf balls literally repel golfers and common sense. They tend to run off and lodge deep inside some hazard turning the sport's elites into frustrated humans on all fours. As a spectator, it’s a profoundly funny situation. But as the trailing group or teammates, our patience would be worn thin as the golfers wade for the ball. The best golf ball retrievers we covered, save you from this humiliating feat. These are catchers that can rescue your golf balls from the thickest bushes and waters with their long arms. We explore some interesting retriever designs as well.
Top 5 Best Golf Ball Retrievers 2017
GOLF BALL RETRIVERS
1. I Gotcha Golf Ball Retriever (BEST)
1. I Gotcha Golf Ball Retriever - Best all-round golf ball retriever
The I Gotcha golf ball retriever is our most popular find in the recent times. This device features a foolproof but simple design. And in spite of the niche market and the reasonable price, it works for me. It may seem more expensive than the usual fare from the local shops. But the recovered golf balls pay out the price of my I Gotcha retriever and then some.
The golf ball retriever from I Gotcha is a long retractable holder with a circular holder and a clasp. The clasp is spring-loaded so all I did was draw the ball into the circle and press it into the spring. The ball will be trapped tightly. I could easily pull the ball out of water and thick bushes without dislodging it. The spring mechanism is very durable too. It will last through a couple of years as per present testing. It has potential to last for more.
The shaft of this golf ball retriever is made out of aluminum so it does not rust. I can retract the shaft into a short package when not in use. There are four models of this retriever based on shaft length: Executive, Executive XL, Standard and Ultimate XL.
I use the Executive XL at our place. It weighs only 12 ounces and doesn’t add much to my golf bag’s weight. The 14 feet it covers is enough for retrieving balls from my local course. It does not bow under the pressure of water or the golf ball once it’s trapped.
The I Gotcha golf ball retriever has a simple but efficient ball-grabbing mechanism. It has a durable design which grabs the ball easily and brings it ours safely without dislodging or damaging it.
It retracts and fits in the side pocket of a golf bag and weighs only 12 ounces. It is reasonably-priced.
- Simple to use
- Highly effective and durable
- Available in different lengths
- Retractable aluminum shaft
- Reasonable price
2. Search and Rescue Retriever - Best Features for the price
The Search and Rescue golf ball retriever lives up to its name. This is a highly user-friendly contraption that with a tried-and-tested design. It’s durable and I found it easy to wield. It’s not as packable as the I Gotcha ball retriever but it’ still retractable.
This Search and Rescue golf ball retriever has a head which looks like an egg-beater from my kitchen. But I quickly found there’s nothing funny about it. The semicircular face needs to be pressed on the ball which automatically gets stuck inside the jaws of the device. I had to raise it held straight from the water. But it’s easier to wield than the Callaway ball retriever.
I was even more impressed when I realized this golf ball retriever comes with a headcover. This helps keep the sensitive jaws protected. The shaft reduces to a 46” package and can be easily carried in your golf bag.
The Search and Rescue golf ball retriever is a user-friendly device that comes with a headcover. It is available in 6foot and 15foot models. Its telescoping shaft reduces to 46”. It is reliable for the price and weather-resistant.
- Easy to use
- Comes with headcovers
- Available in 6 feet and 15 feet models
- Telescoping/locking handle
- Not as solidly built as the Callaway ball retriever
3. Callaway Ball Retriever - Most durable golf ball retriever
Callaway golf ball retriever has a potentially great design that reflects the quality of Callaway brand. It gets the third place only because we found the I Gotcha retriever much easier to use and also cheaper. But to those like Richard who are devoted to name brands like Callaway, this is the ultimate gadget.
This Callaway golf all retriever has a head shaped like an egg-beater. I pressed it on the ball from one side and the ball automatically got trapped in the jaws. And when I turned the shaft over 180°, the ball slipped out. While this makes recovering the ball from the device easy, it also requires me to pull the shaft out of the hazard without turning it over. If you have a steady hand, we recommend the robust design of the Callaway retriever.
The design touches are superb. The head is made of thick stainless steel. The butt end of the shaft has an ergonomic grip to soothe your hands through the process. The shaft itself is telescoping. At every telescoping hinge, there’s a piece of plastic to tighten the joint. You have to fasten this joint so that the shaft doesn’t collapse because of its own weight.
The Callaway golf ball retriever is available in 2 lengths: 15 feet model and 6 feet model. Both these retrievers come with a headcover done in smooth suede.
Do be careful while loosening the telescopic link. They can fall back and grab your skin between them as I painfully discovered during a testing session.
Callaway golf ball retriever is a designed with the most premium materials meant to last long. This sturdy retriever requires you to press down on the ball and pull it out in the same position. It’s available with retractable shafts of extendable length 15 feet and 6 feet.Headcovers are also included.
- Easy to hook ball
- Comes with head covers
- Retractable handle
- Ergonomic grip
- Operation is not as hassle-free an I Gotcha
4. Original Shag Bag Practice and Range Golf Ball Shagger - Best multiple golf ball retriever
The original Shag Bag golf ball retriever is a different kind of product from the others on this list. We may or may not use it to retrieve balls from shallow hazards. But we definitely use them everywhere else. This is a short golf ball retriever that picks and stores balls from the course. So you don’t have to bend and pick them every time.
The design of this retriever has a contoured handle on the top for holding it. The middle part includes a bag supported by metal plates on either side. The bottom part is a cylindrical aluminum pipe. I only had to press the pipe over the ball and it automatically entered the pipeline. The bag can store up to 80 golf balls. This retriever is very useful when you are out practicing putting. Picking up so many balls from the course can be back breaking. And you will lose out on important practice time.
The bag is made of canvas and has a sturdy zipper. It doesn’t bow under the weight of the balls. I found the Shag Bag golf ball retriever easy to hold and press upon the ball. The whole device is 30.5 inches in height. Even after multiple uses and some abuse by the team members, this retriever performs admirably.
The Original Shag bag golf ball retriever is meant to pick up balls in bulk while putting or practicing otherwise. It has a holding bag which can trap up to 80 balls at a time. This is backed by sturdy construction and a convenient design. It is more expensive than other retrievers on the list but it pays out itself with money saved on medical bills and the anguish of back pain.
- Multiple ball holder
- Durable construction
- Convenient usage method
- Reliable performance every time
- Not for water hazards
5. JP Lann Golf Ball Retrievers - Most affordable golf ball retriever
The JP Lann golf ball retriever looks unassuming but it gets the work done. It comes in two models: one with an orange plastic metal cup and another with a metal hinge. It is also available in 4 different heights 9 feet, 12 feet, 15 feet or 18 feet. I picked the 12 feet one because it’s the ideal sizes for most exploits. It packs down to around 40 inches when closed. While this is not as compact as the I Gotcha, it’s still a great deal.
This golf ball retriever has a telescoping handle ending in a circular loop which traps the ball. You need to encircle the ball with the loop and turn the shaft 180°. The ball will be locked inside. I didn’t even have to go through the locking mechanism for different segments.
Some pieces of the metal-hinge version have a tendency to lock at the joint where different segments of the shaft meet. But this problem is rare. And having tried both, I recommend the pressure cup version of this golf ball retriever.
If you don’t run into serious hazards on your local course, you might want to try to the 6’7” model in the orange pressure cup design. It is lighter and more compact. This is an affordable golf ball retriever.
The JP Lann golf ball retriever has a simple press-and-turn mechanism. This is available in 2 models: pressure cup and metal hinge. There are 5 shaft lengths in pressure cup model to choose from. The handle is a telescoping shaft which extends up to 40 inches when packed.
This is an affordable and convenient device.
- Simple mechanism
- Retractable shaft
- Compact form
- Ergonomic handle
- Quality is decent but not exceptional
1. What Are Golf Ball Retrievers?
Golf ball retriever is a mechanical arm that invades territories that a well-dressed golfer with etiquettes cannot reach to pick up a stray golf ball. After plunking a ball into the bushes or a hazard, you might want to get down on your knees and ask for forgiveness to the golf Gods. But with the carefully cleaned polyester/cotton pants, it would be against the elite aura of the game. It would be worse to drop down and fish the ball out of a pond. Here’s where golf ball retrievers come in.
As of today, the Titleist Pro V1 golf balls cost almost $5 per piece. And every golfer wants to improve their game with these. The best golf ball retrievers pay for themselves many times over in the worth of Pro V1/V1x balls.
There is no specific universally-accepted design of golf ball retriever. The ones we checked out usually have a part for scooping the ball and clasping it tightly. There’s a long arm so that the retriever can reach the depths of any bush or waterbody and bring back the golf balls. We have tried to cover the most popular designs that have worked for most golfers.
The performance of the retriever ultimately depends on your hand-eye coordination and the patience of golfers in your team and behind you.
These are extendable poles that go up to 15 feet in length. They have some kind of a scooping and clasping mechanism on the end which closes over the ball and brings it safely out of the trap. There were a number of interesting patents for golf ball retrievers going as far back as 1939. We are sharing just a few designs that we found intriguing:
This design patented by Christensen in 1940 is the earliest design we found. These have a pair of circular jaws that grip the golf ball between them. The jaws are pivotally mounted so they can be controlled together from a single point. The inventor mentions that this device can also be used for inserting golf tees in the ground and further removing them after use.
Another invention from 1961 requires a more direct force to retrieve the ball:
Paul Ward is credited with this design which allows you to scoop the ball from inaccessible places with a single hand. The most important feature of this invention is that it does not drop the ball no matter which position the retriever is moved, raised or held.
The most intriguing design we found patented is this:
This design tries to simulate a human hand. The scoop part has anterior and posterior fingers and a cavity. We have to press the claws upon the golf ball. Once the flexible fingers guide it into the grasp, they grip the ball from the top and keep it from leaving the grip. There are protrusions on the inner surface of the scoop that keep the ball locked in cavity.
2. How To Retrieve Golf Balls Using A Retriever?
- The popular golf ball retrievers usually have a long retractable handle. You can extend the handle to required length based on the estimated position of the ball in the bush or water.
- Now, based on the trapping mechanism move the retriever over the ball or front to back of the ball.
- Scoop the ball out steadily.
- Make sure you clean the exposed handle of the golf ball retriever using a dry cloth before retracting it.
3. How To Select The Best Golf Ball Retrievers?
Since golf ball retrievers are niche products, we have outlined a few parameters that help you select the one best suited for you:
The length of golf ball retrievers varies from 6 to 24 feet. Many of them have telescoping handle which can be used to extend them. Based on the courses you frequent and the hazards there chose the appropriate length. If the water hazard is a small pond, you wouldn’t require the 24-feet retriever.
You or your caddie has to carry the golf ball retriever. It could rake up a substantial weight to your already heavy backpack. By choosing the appropriate length and design, you can buy a lightweight retriever that’s portable enough for you.
The design and trapping mechanism of the golf ball retrievers vary wildly. Like we explained with the patents, every inventor tried their own distinct pattern. There’s no one standard design that’s been universally accepted by the golfers. Pick the design that appeals to you the most.
Make sure to look at the materials used to build the golf ball retriever. The good ones made of stainless steel or fiberglass wouldn’t rust with repeated dunking in water. The moving parts should be screwed on sturdily. Telescoping parts should work unhesitatingly.
How well does the golf ball retriever work? It’s difficult for you to test each and every design. So we have selected the top 5 retrievers which have popular backing too.
Trend Of Best Golf Ball Retrievers In 2018
The golf ball retrievers are a burgeoning market of innovation. We are moving towards better designs that are more compact and require minimal user action. The I Gotcha Retriever is here to stay because of its reliable ball-picking mechanism. The way it has managed to groom a convenient method into an affordable package makes it all the more popular. We expect to see more creative mechanisms which focus on reducing the strain on golfers’ hands and which saves time.
While we are excited by I Gotcha design, we are hoping to similar specs but other easier mechanisms and more compact designs in 2018.
Golf ball retrievers are essential to your game specifically if you use those highly technical golf balls. You could save a lot of money and avoid wastage by simply re-using the ball that disappear off into hazards and bushes. We found I Gotcha to be an easy-to-use device with a durable build. It packs down into a small length that can be stored in the side pocket of your golf bag. It comes in many shaft lengths to choose from. The other retrievers on the best golf ball retriever list also offer valuable features.