Let’s Golf Better’s Guide to Golf Ball Retrievers

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golf ball retrievers

Losing or misplacing your premium golf balls during a game is never a fun experience. By getting yourself a nice golf ball retriever, though, you won’t have to deal with such inconvenience for too long. It doesn’t matter if your ball is in some water hazard, sand trap, deep rough, or any other hard-to-reach spot. With golf ball retrievers, you’ll be able to snag them back easily.

Still, if you’re still skeptical about getting this golfing accessory, allow Let’s Golf Better to change your mind. Below is a guide made by yours truly that will help dispel all your doubts. From the top reasons to buy golf ball retrievers right down to the top products currently available, everything you need to know is all down there.

Why You Need Golf Ball Retrievers

Many people will tell you different good reasons to buy golf ball retrievers (or any other golfing accessory for that matter). However, only a few actually matter.

To Recover Your Balls

It goes without saying that the main reason why you need a golf ball retriever is so you can get your golf balls out of any tight spots. These include water hazards, sand traps, and deep roughs. Golf ball retrievers can accomplish this thanks to their telescopic extensions and swiveling cups or scopes (at the end). These features will help you get your golf balls back without exerting too much effort, allowing you to resume your game without a hitch.

To Keep Yourself and Your Clubs Safe

Before golf ball retrievers came to be, you only had two options when recovering a lost ball. Either you have to get it yourself, or try snagging it with your golf club. Both can lead to hazardous consequences. For your clubs, it could lead to rusting and scratching. And for you, it can lead to injury (assuming you have to climb a tree or dive in the lake).

To Save Time

Thirdly, a golf ball retriever will help you recover your balls faster. Thus, it will help save you significant amounts of time, which you would have otherwise put to better use during a game.

What to Look for In a Golf Ball Retriever

Before diving straight into the list of best golf ball retrievers, let’s take a look at some of the technical factors we watched out for when picking them. Knowing them will help you make a better decision when picking your own golf ball retriever. Anyway, these include:

Extension Length

The length of a golf ball retriever’s telescopic extension varies depending on the product you choose. The shortest ones usually measure around 6 feet long and rise up in 3-feet intervals. Meanwhile, the longest retrievers can be extended up to 18 feet. It’s always recommended that you pick the golf ball retriever that offers that maximum length. However, bear in mind that the longer a retriever is, the more bendy and less stable it tends to be.

Cup or Scope

The cup or scope of a golf ball retriever is what enables you to securely recover your golf ball in the first place, so best make sure the retriever you pick has a good one. Now golf ball retrievers either come in cups or springs. Cups allow you to scoop the ball and place it in the retriever’s net. On the other hand, springs close in on a ball before fastening it for recovery. Choosing between cups and springs all comes down to personal preference, so better make a judgment call on this one.

Grip

Without a good grip, golf ball retrievers won’t be able to stay in your hand for long, especially if you extend it to its maximum length. So best choose one that comes with an ergonomic, comfortable grip that won’t slip from your hand wherever you’re rescuing your golf balls.

Bend

As touched on above, the longer the golf ball retriever, the more bendy and unwieldy it tends to be. This will make it a bit difficult for you to place your ball in the cup or scope, as well as make the process somewhat energy-consuming. Luckily, some of the more recent retrievers available today have features that minimize this. Best look for them if you’re on the hunt for a golf ball retriever.

Ease of Use

The best golf ball retrievers are easy to use whether it’s collapsed or extended, allowing you to scoop up your wayward golf balls without a hitch. This is largely due to the retriever’s material and weight, so best check both those out before buying one. The grip will also come into play, so best choose the product with the ergonomic, comfortable handle as stated above.

Durability

Of course, the better a golf ball retriever’s quality is, the more durable it is. So while it’s highly recommended that you go with the lightest model you can find, it’s also equally important that you end up with the sturdiest one, too. After all, you’re investing in a long-term golfing accessory that will help make the entire game more convenient and fun.

Storage

Additionally, go for the golf ball retriever that’s portable and easy to store in your golf bag alongside your high-handicap drivers, and other clubs and accessories. That way, you can bring it with you anywhere you go. Two things will come into play here: weight and size. Obviously, the retriever must be light enough without compromising its durability. As for size, there are models out there that come in more compact packages but still offer good extendable lengths.

Price

Last but not least, you should have a maximum budget for your golf ball retriever. While we don’t recommend that you go with a cheap retriever, picking the most expensive one you can find won’t do, either. So while you should still consider the price, you should prioritize the quality and other main features more.

Best Golf Ball Retrievers to Buy

So now that you know what to watch out for when looking for a golf ball retriever, time to check out what the stores have to offer. Based on the technical details above, you should go for the retriever that offers the following:

  • Maximum extendable length
  • Effective cup or scope
  • Ergonomic, comfortable grip
  • Minimal bend
  • Ease of use
  • Durability
  • Portability
  • Affordable Price

Below are ten golf retrievers that guarantee such features and more:

Top Rated: Callaway Golf Ball Retriever

Callaway Golf Ball Retriever

Callaway’s Golf Ball Retriever may come off as too expensive, but believe us when we say that it’s worth every penny. It’s incredibly well built, with a maximum extendable length of up to 15 feet, as well as a stainless steel retriever mechanism that can easily clutch any ball. It also comes with a nice, ergonomic grip handle so you can confidently reach your golf balls even if it’s stuck in the most awkward spots. And as an added bonus, it’s the only golf ball retriever on this list that comes with its own head cover.

Product Specifications

Brand: Callaway

Extendable Length: 6 to 15 feet

Size When Collapsed: 24 inches

Item Weight: 27.2 oz

Cup: Stainless steel retriever mechanism

Material: Aluminum alloy

Ergonomic Handle: Yes

Included Cover: Yes

ProsCons
Made from premium materials
Unique stainless steel retriever mechanism
Comfortable to handle
Includes a head cover
More expensive than other options

Best Overall: IGOTCHA Ball Retriever

IGOTCHA Ball Retriever

But if you want a premium golf ball retriever that’s easier on your wallet, then we suggest you go with IGOTCHA’s Ball Retriever. With its nice design, user-friendliness, and average pricing, it’s definitely the best economical option you have. The best part is, it comes in three variants: the 10-feet retriever, the Executive Retriever (extendable up to 14 feet), and the Ultimate Retriever (extendable up to 18 feet). This ensures that golfers can get a golf ball retriever that’s just the right length for them, allowing them to comfortably recover their wayward balls.

Product Specifications

Brand: IGOTCHA

Extendable Length: 10 to 18 feet

Size When Collapsed: 15.5 to 21 inches

Item Weight: 8 to 19 oz

Cup: Patented spring-release ready head

Material: Patented stainless steel

Ergonomic Handle: Yes

Included Cover: No

ProsCons
Available in three lengths
Very lightweight retriever
Comfortable to handle
Needlessly long for some people
Construction and materials not as good as Callaway’s

Best Value for Money: Pelican Golf Ball Retriever

Pelican Golf Ball Retriever

If you want something that’s even more affordable than what IGOTCHA has to offer, then check out the Pelican Golf Ball Retriever. With a price ranging from $26.95 to $34.95, it’s arguably the cheapest option on this list (that offers a long extendable length). Feature-wise, it has a shaft made from premium aluminum alloy and a cup made from tough nylon. It’s also equipped with a comfortable grip so you can easily handle it as you retrieve your golf balls. The only downside about it is that it’s not suitable for retrieving balls from muddy and soft spots.

Product Specifications

Brand: Pelican

Extendable Length: 12 to 18 feet

Size When Collapsed: 43 to 44 inches

Item Weight: 14.4 to 25.6 oz

Cup: Robust golden yellow nylon cup

Material: Aluminum alloy and nylon

Ergonomic Handle: Yes

Included Cover: No

ProsCons
Available in three lengths
Premium aluminum alloy shaft and nylon cup
Comfort grip and lightweight
Not ideal for retrieving balls from mud and other soft spots

Best Lightweight: ProWithlin Golf Ball Retriever

ProWithlin Golf Ball Retriever

Meanwhile, ProWithlin’s Golf Ball Retriever is easily the lightest one on this list, making it great for seniors and golfers who want light golfing accessories. Made with a special type of stainless steel, it’s also great for retrieving golf balls from muddy places. And thanks to its automatic locking scoop cup, you don’t have to strain your back when recovering lost balls. It’s only weakness is its relatively short extendable length. Ranging only from 6 to 9 feet, it’s not exactly ideal when snagging golf balls from high or deep spots. 

Product Specifications

Brand: Prowithlin

Extendable Length: 6 to 9 feet

Size When Collapsed: 15.75 inches

Item Weight: 7 oz

Cup: Automatic locking scoop cup

Material: Stainless steel + ABS

Ergonomic Handle: Yes

Included Cover: No

ProsCons
Automatic locking mechanism to keep the ball in place
Extremely lightweight yet sturdy retriever
No-hassle storage (can fit in most bag pockets)
Ideal for retrieval in mud and soft places
Too short for most golfers

Best Compact: IGOTCHA Jawz Golf Ball Retriever

IGOTCHA Jawz Golf Ball Retriever

On the other hand, the IGOTCHA Jawz Golf Ball Retriever offers an ultra compact golfing accessory, allowing you to easily fit it in your golf bag’s smaller pockets. Despite being 18 feet long (when extended), this retriever can be collapsed to just 20 inches, around ten times smaller than other retrievers. This allows you to save lots of space in your golf bag, giving you more room for clubs, other accessories, and what-not. Another great thing about this product is its jaws-like head. With its surface rubberized, it provides a stronger grip when recovering balls, tus allowing you to get it back without worrying it will fall midway.

Product Specifications

Brand: IGOTCHA

Extendable Length: 6 to 18 feet

Size When Collapsed: 15.5 to 21 inches

Item Weight: 8 to 19 oz

Cup: Single piece head design (no moving parts)

Material: Patented stainless steel

Ergonomic Handle: Yes

Included Cover: No

ProsCons
Available in three lengths
Has neoprene Jaws system to keep ball in place
Ultra-compact retriever
Handle is smaller (albeit still ergonomic) than other optionsNot ideal for use in soft spots

Best Extendable Length: Search ‘N Rescue Stretcher Golf Ball Retriever

Search N Rescue Stretcher Golf Ball Retriever

Unlike other golf ball retrievers on this list, Search ‘N Rescue’s Stretcher Golf Ball Retriever only consists of a 35-foot nylon cord, connected to an ‎18 x 4 x 5 inch steel basket. This makes it the retriever with the longest extendable length on this list, as well as the most unique. Instead of reaching out lost golf balls, this product “fishes” it out instead since you’ll have to throw it and hope it snags your misplaced ball. One redeeming feature about this retriever is that it’s great for recovering balls from bodies of water, as well as the fact that it can retrieve more than a single ball in one go.

Product Specifications

Brand: Search ‘N Rescue

Extendable Length: 35 feet

Size When Collapsed: 18 inches

Item Weight: 16 oz

Cup: Special steel basket

Material: Nylon

Ergonomic Handle: Yes

Included Cover: No

ProsCons
Can collect up to 8 balls in one go
High visibility orange basket
Great for water retrieval
Fixed lengthBasket too bulky for some golfers

Best Versatile: JP Lann Golf Ball Retriever

JP Lann Golf Ball Retriever

The JP Lann Golf Ball Retriever doesn’t just offer several extendable length options; it also offers two cup choices. This basically makes it the most versatile retriever on this list. Additionally, unlike many other retrievers out there, JP Lann’s product comes with rubber grips. This makes it easier for you to hold on to the shaft as you try to snag your misplaced balls. As if that’s not enough, both the metal hinge and pressure cups can be turned up to 180 degrees, enabling you to adjust it for easier ball recovery. 

Product Specifications

Brand: JP Lann

Extendable Length: 6 to 18 feet

Size When Collapsed: 36 inches

Item Weight: 16 oz

Cup: Metal hinge or Pressure cup

Material: Aluminum

Ergonomic Handle: Yes

Included Cover: No

ProsCons
180-degree cup to keep ball in place
Lightweight yet durable aluminum shaft
Available in several extendable length options
Available in two cup options
Construction and materials not as good as other options

Best Cup: Mazel Telescopic Golf Ball Retriever

Mazel Telescopic Golf Ball Retriever

Mazel’s Telescopic Golf Ball Retriever also comes with two different head options: a scoop and a spring-release one. Since they sell their products by pair, you have the option of having one head fitted in each shaft, allowing you to use either to your heart’s content. Moreover, it’s cheaper even than the Pelican Golf Ball Retriever, costing just around $16.95. However, its extendable length is only 6 feet long, making it less than ideal for retrieving balls from high or deep spots.

Product Specifications

Brand: Mazel

Extendable Length: 6 feet

Size When Collapsed: 15.7 inches

Item Weight: 13.75 oz

Cup: Automatic locking scoop cup design

Material: Stainless steel

Ergonomic Handle: Yes

Included Cover: No

ProsCons
Stainless steel shaft remains stable even when extended
Automatic locking mechanism to keep ball in place
Wide handle with ergonomic ridges
Too short and compact for most golfers

Best for Water: Search ‘N Rescue Magic Gripper Golf Ball Retriever

Search N Rescue Magic Gripper Golf Ball Retriever

Like their Stretcher Golf Ball Retriever above, Search ‘N Rescue’s Magic Gripper Golf Ball Retriever is best suited for water retrieval. Unlike its nylon cord counterpart, though, the Magic Gripper has a simpler, more traditional design (a shaft and a cup). Its highlight is its cup, Search ‘N Rescue’s Patented Magic Gripper head, which applies light pressure on the ball to hold it in place. But what makes it water-proof is its anodized aluminum shaft. Resistant to rust, oxidation, and corrosion, you can submerged it in water for prolonged periods without worrying about it deteriorating.

Product Specifications

Brand: Search ‘N Rescue

Extendable Length: 14.5 to 15 feet

Size When Collapsed: 15 inches

Item Weight: 17 oz

Cup: Patented Magic Gripper head

Material: Anodized aluminum

Ergonomic Handle: Yes

Included Cover: No

ProsCons
Anodized aluminum shaft is water-resistant
Patented Magic Gripper head has magnetic-like features
Great for water retrieval
Feels somewhat heavier than other options

Best Style: Forgan of St Andrews Golf Ball Retriever

Forgan of St Andrews Golf Ball Retriever

Finally, what the Forgan of St Andrews Golf Ball Retriever lacks in unique technical features, it makes up for in style and aesthetics. With its black and silver color scheme, it has an elegance to it that no other retriever on this list has. And despite its lack of unique quirks, this retriever still comes with many golf ball retriever technology to ensure you recover your lost balls with ease. These include four extendable length options (ranging from 6 to 18 feet), a cup with an automatic lock mechanism, and a handle with a comfortable, ergonomic grip.

Product Specifications

Brand: Forgan of St Andrews

Extendable Length: 6 to 18 feet

Size When Collapsed: 42 to 44 inches

Item Weight: 12.8 to 19.2 oz

Cup: Scoop head design

Material: Stainless steel

Ergonomic Handle: Yes

Included Cover: No

ProsCons
Made from premium materials
Extremely stylish design
Ideal for both water and mud
Too bulky to fit in side pockets

Other Things to Know About Golf Ball Retrievers

Aside from the technical details listed above, there are three last factors to consider before buying golf ball retrievers. Though not as important as the ones above, knowing these factors will still help you find the best retriever for you. These are:

Ideal Length

As mentioned above, it’s always recommended that you pick the golf ball retriever that offers that maximum length. However, it will become more bendy and unwieldy the longer it is. So while an 18-feet retriever is highly preferable, you should still consider going for shorter ones. Just make sure they’re not shorter than 6 feet, and you’re good to go.

Golf Ball Brand

In a previous article about golf balls, we mentioned how not all golf balls are created equal. Some are built for distance, while others are made for maximum spins. These will depend not just on the golf balls’ features, but also on the brands that made them. For example, balls made by Bridgestone and Maxfli are notable for their solid distance. So before buying your golf ball retriever, make sure it’s made to accommodate the features of the balls you’ll recover.

Rules of Golf

Many people are concerned over whether golf ball retrievers could be counted as a golf club. After all, the Rules of Golf state that only 14 clubs are allowed in a bag during a tournament. However, that is a misconception according to the USGA. as stated in Appendix II of the Rules of Golf, golf clubs need to have heads and shafts in order to be considered as such. Since retrievers don’t have either of these, then they don’t count.

Invest in Good Golf Ball Retrievers

To buy or not to buy golf ball retrievers? That is a question you’ll have to ultimately deal with on your own. This guide will only serve to help you find the best one for you. So read it as thoroughly as you can, and then decide.

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