Best Overall: Callaway Golf Ball Retriever
“With an ergonomic handle, a collapsible shaft, and a stainless steel retriever mechanism, the Callaway Golf Ball Retriever offers unmatched durability making it the best golf ball retriever on the market today.“
Runner-up Choice: IGOTCHA Golf Ball Retriever
“Offering lengths from 10 to 21 feet, a spring release head, and a weight of just eight ounces, the IGOTCHA Golf Ball Retriever is pretty lightweight with a retrieval system that provides a safe and quick trapping action.”
Best Value For Money: ProWithlin Golf Ball Retriever
“The automatic ProWithlin Golf Ball Retriever features a locking scoop design, a durable handle, and additional ball grabber all at an affordable rate.“
Every golfer has hit a shot that finds the water hazard. But balls can still be retrieved on those shots that do not hit the center of the water.
All you need is a ball retriever. It provides a reach of over six feet to lift and scoop the ball out of the hazard. Saving a high-end ball or two per round can save you hundreds of dollars per year.
We have listed several retrievers that we think is the best ball retriever that will pay for themselves within just a few weeks of placing one of them in your golf bag.
Last updated on 2020-12-05. The links are affiliate links. Product images are served from Amazon Product Advertising API.
Table of Contents
- The Rundown:
- Featured Recommendations
- Best Golf Ball Retriever in 2020
- Features That Matter When Buying a Golf Ball Retriever
- Questions & Answers
Best Golf Ball Retriever in 2020
Best overall: All-Around Best Golf Ball Retriever
This high-end ball retriever made from stainless steel with a heft that stabilizes the product while offering unmatched durability.
This ball retriever comes in two sizes, a shorter and more manageable six-foot option, plus a 15-foot option that extends your reach when dealing with tough to navigate water hazards.
Runner-up Choice: Best Lightweight Golf Ball Retriever
Offering lengths from 10 to 21 feet, the IGOTCHA provides a lightweight alternative to heavier stainless steel-based retrievers.
All of the company’s retrievers are collapsible to varying lengths, with the 10-foot entry-level model shrinking to just 15.5 inches. The shorter length of most of the IGOTCHA retrievers allows convenient storage in any of your bag’s side pockets.
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Best Value For Money: Most Versatile for Senior Golfers
The ProWithlin Golf Ball Retriever is another short collapsible model that is primarily designed to help you grab golf balls that are well within your reach.
The retriever extends to just over six feet utilizing its body and automatic locking scoop to secure the golf ball.
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Best Collapsible Ball Retriever
The Jawz line of ball retrievers from IGOTCHA offers quick and dependable retrieval without worrying about latches or other locking materials getting in the way.
All three models available collapse to sizes under two feet, making them ideal for a junior golfer looking to minimize their bags’ weight. Older golfers will enjoy the ability to keep the retriever in their bag and not among their clubs.
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While not the flashiest ball retriever we’ve seen, the JP Lann Golf Ball Retriever offers several worthwhile options with lengths up to 18-feet.
Made from durable aluminum, the JP Lann retriever offers the player a simple to use alternative to more expensive models. The aluminum shaft at the heart of this retriever makes the JP Lann lightweight, perfect for even the smaller junior golfer to use on the course without a problem.
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All-Around Golf Ball Retriever
The ProActive Golf Ball Retriever is one of the longest retrievers on the market stretching to 18 feet in length at its longest point.
If you are looking for length in your retriever, then the ProActive model certainly ranks alongside the best we’ve tested for this list. Weighing just 1.6 pounds, the retriever isn’t too burdensome to carry, especially among your clubs in the top opening of your golf bag.
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Terrific Golf Ball Retriever for Beginning Golfers
The Mazel is a low-cost alternative to the longer and more high-end retrievers, making it ideal for beginning golfers.
The retriever only runs six feet in length, and while that may be a negative to golfers who want more reach, at this price point, it is perfect if you are looking for a retrieval product that is more compact and easy to store.
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Features That Matter When Buying a Golf Ball Retriever
The most important feature of a ball retriever is the enclosure that captures the golf ball and returns it back to the golfer. Once a golf ball is found, grabbing it with the retriever’s enclosure and securing it is the most important step in the retrieval process.
Some retrievers offer a simple enclosure, forcing the golfer to scoop the golf ball from the side and then bring it back to the golfer. These types of enclosures can allow the golf ball to slip out, causing multiple attempts to recover the ball.
Other enclosures include a clasp, held firm by a spring, that captures the ball and locks it in place, allowing for safe return. These retrievers are higher priced but offer more security on longer retrievals.
There are short and long ball retrievers for golfers to use on the course.
Ball retrievers with short shafts that typically measure around six feet are great for grabbing golf balls from short distances. Although they don’t offer the reach of an extended length ball retriever, a shorter shaft is more stable and less flexible than longer shafted retrievers.
Long ball retrievers have long shaft lengths. Usually these shafts are lengthened by collapsable pieces that fold into each other. The longest shaft lengths on ball retrievers can measure up to 18 feet, giving the golfer five yards of extension for securing a hard to reach golf ball.
Long retrievers are great for grabbing golf balls that are submerged, jammed in muddy areas, or across barriers that golfers can not move around. Long retrievers collapse down to lengths that easily fit in golf bags.
One of the most important elements of the handle is the grip. Some retrievers offer grip similar to a golf club with moderate tackiness that keeps the product firmly inside the hand. Other retrievers offer oversized grips that are ridged, but ergonomic, for a custom fit that is easy to hold.
The handle is usually made from composite rubber materials that offer flexibility, cushion, and tackiness. Golfers need handles that will wear well over time, provide comfort while holding, and create the grip needed to leverage the retriever when collecting the golf ball.
Retrievers also need handles that work well in all types of weather conditions. Grips that offer the same grip in rain as it does in dry conditions are a bonus for golfers looking for a retriever that meets high standards.
The stability of a retriever is measured by how solid the product performs when retrieving a golf ball. Since most golfers believe that stability in a retriever is anchored by the quality of the shaft, golfers should judge how the shaft performs when fully extended.
Retrievers with a short shaft offer more stability than longer-shafted retrievers. Since most shafts are made from aluminum, the shorter ones have more strength with less flex. The longer retrievers need more flexibility to help the enclosure reach golf balls that are farther away.
Easy to capture enclosures also offer premium stability and reliability. Cheaper retrievers force the golfer to scoop the ball to secure it, but high-quality enclosures use modern innovations to provide easy methods to bring a missing ball back to the player.
The material quality that’s used on a ball retriever is very important to its overall performance. A retriever is made with three essential components that includes the handle, shaft, and enclosure. If each component is made with high-quality materials, then the retriever will provide high performance and a pleasing experience.
The length of the shaft of the retriever also plays a huge role in the product’s ability to quickly grab and retrieve a ball. Longer retrievers need shafts that are made from high-quality materials to maintain stability. Since the shaft is long, it must stay relatively rigid to make grabbing the ball easy to accomplish.
Shorter retrievers have more room for error, making the quality of the shaft’s material less important, because they typically offer a short, stiff arm to reach errant golf balls.
Questions & Answers
What is a golf ball retriever? How does it work?
A ball retriever works by securing the golf balls inside either a cup or rubberized ring at the end of the product. When a golfer hits their ball into a hazard, whether it be in shallow water or perhaps high grass, a retriever can remove the ball without the golfer getting their shoes wet or needing to walk in an area where snakes might be nesting.
The retriever, typically collapsible, extends to its maximum length, then the ring or cup at the end is placed onto the golf ball. If it is a cup system, then the golfer utilizes the latch that secures the golf ball, then flips it over and brings it back to their location. The same is true for the ring, as the golfer lowers the gripper onto the ball, locks it in place, and brings it back to safety.
Most golf ball retrievers use the cup system to secure and lock the ball in place as you bring the retriever back to your location.
First, you must extend the retriever to the length you believe will reach the golf ball. Since most golf ball retrievers run in length from 10 to 20 feet, you might not have to extend the shaft to its full range to reach the golf ball.
Next, center the cup or ring around the ball and push down on the ball. Most golf ball retrievers use a latch system to secure the golf ball, and it must lock into place.
After the ball is secure inside the cup, pull the ball back to your location, and retrieve your golf ball.
Why should I buy a ball retriever?
There are a few scenarios you may encounter on a golf course where a golf ball retriever will come in handy. It can help you reach and gather balls in areas of the course where walking to the ball might be impossible or, at the very least, problematic.
For example, you should definitely consider buying a ball retriever if you like to find and retrieve golf balls from the banks of water hazards or from areas of deep rough. Also, if you play on courses with houses that are fenced, a retriever will help you add a few more feet to your reach to grab the golf ball.
Is a longer ball retriever better than a shorter retriever?
A longer ball retriever offers advantages over a shorter retriever. The most obvious difference is that you can reach golf balls from longer distances with a longer retriever when compared to a shorter model.
For golfers who play courses in neighborhoods with fences and other obstacles, a longer ball retriever can help access balls that have drifted farther than a few feet away from the boundaries.
When dealing with large water bodies, a longer retriever can help scoop golf balls that have become submerged, but the golfer can see the ball clearly, making it easy to recover.
A shorter retriever works well if your ball is close to a water hazard and you want room to grab the ball without getting wet or possibly getting mud on your shoes. While you will sacrifice the ability to grab balls further away, a shorter retriever also stores easily in your golf bag and in a garage during the offseason.