2019 BALL RETRIEVER BUYERS GUIDE

Have you ever met a new playing partner and noticed a ball retriever sticking out of his bag? What was your first thought? Probably something like, “damn, this is going to be a long round.” Look crosseyed if you must, but what if the new guy is the smart one? If you’re savvy enough to not skimp on golf balls, you’re certainly aware that a premium golf ball can set you back $4 or more. The cost adds up quickly. Why not save as many lost balls as you possibly can? A ball retriever, silly as it might sound, will save you money in the long run.

We’re not going to try and oversell you. Finding a ball retriever should be significantly less daunting than buying a new driver, or even an umbrella. There’s no need to overthink it, but you should be aware that some models are definitely better than others. To help you narrow down your list, we put the top golf ball retrievers on the market to the test.

Whether you’re currently in the market for a new model, or just generally curious to see how many variations of golf ball retrievers exist, this guide is for you.

How We Test

We're here to help you find the perfect Golf ball retriever to fit your needs.

To do that, we employ a thorough and fully independent testing process that leaves no feature unexplored, no detail unchecked, and no stone unturned.

Our Metrics

Ball retrievers are tested head to head using rigorous protocols.

The metrics we consider when rating Golf Ball Retriever include Extension, Ball Security, Sturdiness, Handle, and Storage.

FEATURES THAT MATTER TO YOU

Ball Security: You can’t retrieve it if you can’t secure it. Scoop designs work best for soft mud, but the ball can fall out if the retriever gets turned upside down. Well-designed options like the I Gotcha excel at securing the ball, but can sometimes struggle with softer ground.

Shaft Length: Size does matter! If you have a ball retriever that is too short, you won’t be able to reach balls deeper in hazards. Granted, you may never reach the one that’s in the middle of the lake, but the longer the shaft, the greater your chance to retrieve your ball.

Handle: At full extension, some models get heavy and dig into your palms. Pick a retriever with a comfortable handle.

Stability: When extended to full length, does the ball retriever droop or even snap? Some models like the I Gotcha are made from sturdier materials and hold their posture. Products that are lightweight tend to bend more and are less durable than heavier options.

EXPERT TIP - Ball Security

If you are worried about your golf ball falling out when transporting out of a hazard, look for a retriever that has a lock mechanism associated with it for added ball security.

Ball Retriever Features 2019

 ProductDistance CoveredWeightRetracted Length
Callaway 15 FT

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15 FT1.5LB4 FT
I GOTCHA 14 FT

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14 FT1.1 LB20.5 INCH
I GOTCHA JAWZ

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14 FT1.2 LB21 INCH
INESIS TELESCOPIC

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14 FT1.3 LB4 FT
ORLIMAR 15 FT

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15 FT1.1 LB4 FT
PRO ACTIVE SPORTS PLAYER SELECT

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9 FT0.4 LB19 INCH
SEARCH N RESCUE BLUE RESCUE

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14 FT1.7 LB4 FT
SIGNSTEK SCOOP PICK UP

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9 FT0.4 LB20 INCH

Buying Tips

  • To allow more room to get your clubs in and out of your bag, pick a ball retriever that is small and compact and fits in your side pocket.
  • If you play a course with a lot of water, a ball retriever might be a must. Otherwise, you might want to skip it.
  • To prevent bending, look for a model with high-quality aluminum to keep its rigidity.

2019 Ball Retriever Results

 ProductExtensionBall SecuritySturdinessHandleStorageTotal
I Gotcha 14 FT

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2nd1st4th1st3rd85
I Gotcha Jaw

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2nd2nd4th1st3rd83
Search N Rescue Blue Rescue

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2nd3rd4th1st5th79
Callaway 15 FT

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1st3rd7th5th5th78.5
Inesis Telescopic

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6th5th2nd7th5th78
Orlimar 15 FT

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2nd6th1st5th5th78
Pro Active Sports Player Select

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7th6th2nd7th1st74.5
Signstek Scoop Pick Up

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8th8th8th1st1st70.5

What do I need to know about a ball retriever?

Q: Why do I need a ball retriever? They seem stupid!

A: There is definitely a stigma attached to ball retrievers, but they will save you money. According to CNN and Golf.com, over 300 Million balls are lost every year in America alone. The average premium ball costs around $4. The cost of lost balls adds up quickly. If you can retrieve a couple of dozen balls (or more) a year, it might be worth the sideways looks from your playing partners.

Q: Is a longer ball retriever better than a shorter retriever?

A: Almost always. It’s obvious enough; a longer ball retriever gives you more reach, which means fewer lost balls, and perhaps a few extras for the shag bag.

Q: Aren’t all golf ball retrievers the same?

A: Not all golf ball retrievers are the same. Some have a scooping device to collect the ball while others, like the I Gotcha, have a locking mechanism for easy collection and added ball security.