INDEPENDENT & UNBIASED

MyGolfSpy accepts $0 advertising dollars from any of the major golf manufacturers. We believe in always putting #ConsumerFirst.



10

Hours Researched

2

Experts Interviewed

15

Products Considered

35.6 Million

Readers

2018 BALL RETRIEVER BUYER’S GUIDE

What if we told you that we could save you money playing golf?

According to CNN and Golf.com, 300 million golf balls are lost every year in the United States alone. On average, golfers lose 1.3 balls per round. The average golfer plays 23 rounds per year. That’s 29.9 lost golf balls per golfer. If you’re playing Titleist Pro V1s, that’s $124 annually on golf balls alone. That’s not a massive amount of money for one season, but over a decade or a lifetime, it adds up to a big chunk of change.

While it elicits its fair share of eye-rolls, the numbers suggest that a ball retriever is a sound investment. There are likely dozens of models on the market, but some designs are inarguably superior. Some have a scoop design where others have a clip mechanism to secure the ball. They vary in size; and in this case, size really does matter!

If you’re in need of a quality ball retriever, and that’s most of us – this guide is for you.

2018 Ball Retriever Features Chart

NameDistance CoveredWeightRetracted Length
Callaway 15FT15 FT1.5 lb4 FT
I Gotcha 14 FT14 FT1.1 lb20.5 Inch
JP Lann 9 FT9 FT0.6 lb4 FT
Olimar 15 FT15 FT1.1 lb4 FT
Pro Active 15 FT15 FT1.2 lb4 FT
Samyo Portable Retreiver9 FT0.4 lb20 Inch
Search N Rescue Blue Rescue14 FT1.7 lb4 FT
Search N Rescue Magic Gripper14 FT1.2 lb24 Inch
Search N Rescue Orange Trapper9 FT0.5 lb22 Inch
Signstek Scoop Pick Up9 FT0.4 lb20 Inch

FEATURES THAT MATTER

Ball Security: You can’t retrieve it if you can’t secure it. The ones that have a scoop design work best for soft mud, but the ball can fall out when turning upside down. Well-designed options like the I Gotcha excel at securing the ball, but sometimes struggle if the ground is soft.

Shaft Length: Size does matter because if you have a ball retriever that is too short, you won’t be able to reach balls that travel deeper into hazards. Granted you might not be able to reach the one that is in the middle of the lake, but the longer the shaft, the greater the chance you have at retrieving your ball.

Handle: When retrieving your golf ball, you want to be able to do so without getting pain or imprints from the handle. Once extended, some models get heavy and dig into your palms. We noted that the Search N Rescue Magic Gripper features an especially comfortable handle.

Sturdiness: 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 ones that are slightly heavier like the Samyo.

HOW WE SCORE

We’re always fine-tuning the process to make sure we’re collecting the best data possible. Continuing that trend we’ve updated and refined this year’s analysis to bring you the best buying advice to improve your game.

We put in hours of testing, utilizing data-driven protocols to test new metrics.

Over the course of the test, we used the same protocol for every ball retriever in the test. To limit bias, we paid careful attention to the phrasing of the questions as well as the timing of when particular questions were asked.

Extension (25) – Does size really matter? Within this test, it does! The goal of a ball retriever is to collect you ball that has finished in any kind of water. Some retrievers have a shorter reach than others which can hinder your ability to reach your ball. The bigger the pond, the bigger your ball retriever needs to be.

Ball security (35) – After locating your stray shot, the next task would is to retrieve the ball. You want a retriever that holds your golf ball securely and can keep it secure until it reaches dry land. Not all products do this as well as they claim.

Sturdiness (30) – When extending the retriever, gravity tends to take a toll which can cause the retriever to bend and in some cases snap. Some retrievers use sturdier materials which hold their shape when extended. Products that are lightweight tend to bend more and are less durable than ones that are slightly heavier.

Handle (5) – The handle might not seem important to retrieving a golf ball, but it plays into effect more than you might think. A handle must be comfortable once retrieving the ball because all the weight is at both ends and can dig into the palm of the individual using it.

Storage (5) – In some cases, carrying a retriever is like carrying an extra club. Some are the same length as your driver, while compact models are the size of your forearm. The retrievers that performed well in this category are the ones that fold down to the smallest size possible. The ones that did not perform as well tend to be the same length as a driver and took up space.

Final grades were awarded based on total scores. Best Overall is our highest overall scoring the best ball retriever, and awards are awarded to the top three retrievers.

THE BEST BALL RETRIEVER OF 2018

I Gotcha 14 FT

I Gotcha 14 FT

"BEST BALL RETRIEVER 2018"

Extension
3rd
Ball Security
1st
Sturdiness
5th
Handle
1st
Storage
4th
Total
85
1

Shop & Support

When you shop online consider using our special link. It helps support this site and other golfers around the world. #ConsumerFirst

What We Liked

Our “Best Ball Retriever of 2018”, the I Gotcha features a patented spring release design that tightly secures the ball for easy transport to dry land. The model tested has a 14′ reach (other lengths available) allowing you go deep in the hazard. The I Gotcha doesn’t droop when fully extended, yet still collapses to a 20.5″ when not in use.

Pros

  • 14-foot reach
  • Sturdy when extended
  • Great for ball security
  • Folds down very small for easy storage

Cons

  • Might be harder to collect the ball in soft or muddy conditions.
Search N Rescue Magic Gripper

Search N Rescue Magic Gripper

Extension
6th
Ball Security
2nd
Sturdiness
2nd
Handle
1st
Storage
4th
Total
84
#2

Shop & Support

When you shop online consider using our special link. It helps support this site and other golfers around the world. #ConsumerFirst

What We Liked

Yet another great ball retriever that delivers what it promises. The Magic Gripper might not look like your traditional retriever, but it gets the job done. The single ring collector is sized perfectly to create enough friction that golf ball stays securely within the ring. Droops less than others when fully extended.

Pros

  • Once the ball is trapped, it stays trapped
  • Compact when fully collapsed
  • Multiple length options available

Cons

  • Harsher conditions make picking up ball more difficult
Search N Rescue Blue Rescue

Search N Rescue Blue Rescue

Extension
3rd
Ball Security
3rd
Sturdiness
5th
Handle
1st
Storage
7th
Total
79
#3

Shop & Support

When you shop online consider using our special link. It helps support this site and other golfers around the world. #ConsumerFirst

What We Liked

A bit like a pair of tongs, the Search N Rescue Blue allows golf balls to be grabbed with ease in all conditions. Balls can sometimes come loose during transport (especially when tilted upsidedown). Be quick about it, however, and you shouldn’t have any issues.

Pros

  • Great design for retrieving the ball from water
  • Easy to use
  • Strong when extended

Cons

  • Roughly the same length as your diver when fully retracted

2018 Ball Retriever Buyers Guide

NamePriceExtensionBall SecuritySturdinessHandleStorageTotal
I Gotcha 14 FT$44.983rd1st5th1st4th85
Search N Rescue Magic Gripper$56.326th2nd2nd1st4th84
Search N Rescue Blue Rescue$25.953rd3rd5th1st7th79
Callaway 15FT$38.491st3rd8th7th7th78.5
Olimar 15 FT$21.043rd6th1st7th7th78
Pro Active 15 FT$17.131st8th4th7th7th75.5
Search N Rescue Orange Trapper$34.748th6th5th1st1st72.5
JP Lann 9 FT$18.957th5th3rd10th6th72.5
Samyo Portable Retreiver$9.808th8th9th1st1st70.5
Signstek Scoop Pick Up$8.398th8th9th1st1st70.5