2021 Ball Retriever Buyer’s Guide

If you’re a follower of our NoPuttsGiven podcast, you’ve heard our conversations about ball retrievers. Other than saving you potentially hundreds of dollars by fishing out those wayward shots, they can save lives. No idea what we’re talking about? You have to listen to NoPuttsGiven!

In all seriousness, a ball retriever is a smart investment for those who spend a lot of money on golf balls every year. Yes, they might have a stigma equivalent to being the pocket protectors of golf but you’ll be saving money. Hell, you might even come out with a profit by the end of your round.

Whether you’re looking to buy a ball retriever today, seeking buying advice to get started or just want a closer look at what’s on the market, this guide will help you find the right ball retriever.

Features That Matter

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 turns upside down. Well-designed options like the I Gotcha excel at securing the ball but can 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 penalty areas. 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.

Ball retrievers that have the greatest reach are Callaway and Orlimar. Inesis wasn’t too far behind.

Handle

At full extension, some models get heavy and dig into your palms. Pick a retriever with a comfortable handle like the I Gotcha and Golf Ball Gopher

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 rigidity. Products that are lightweight tend to bend more and are less durable.

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.

THE BEST BALL RETRIEVERS 2021 - FEATURES

 ProductDistance CoveredWeightRetracted Length
Callaway

Check Price
15FT1.5LB4FT
Golf Ball Gopher

Check Price
7.8FT1LB3FT
I Gotcha

Check Price
14FT1.1LB20.5 INCH
I Gotcha Executive

Check Price
6.9FT0.4LB15.5 INCH
I Gotcha Jawz

Check Price
14FT1.2LB21 INCH
Inesis 100 Telescopic

Check Price
14.7FT1LB3.7FT
Orlimar

Check Price
15FT1.1LB4FT
Pro Active Sports

Check Price
9FT0.4LB19 INCH
Search N Rescue Blue Rescue

Check Price
14FT1.7LB4FT
Search N Rescue Orange Trapper

Check Price
9FT0.4LB20 INCH

More Tips

  • To allow more room to get your clubs in and out of your bag, pick a ball retriever that is small, 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, skip it.
  • To prevent bending, look for a model with high-quality aluminum to keep its rigidity.

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.

GET FIT FOR YOUR GAME WITH TRUEGOLFFIT™

Unbiased. No Guesswork. All Major Brands. Matched To Your Swing. Advanced Golf Analytics matches the perfect clubs to your exact swing using connected data and machine learning.

SEE MY RESULTS

THE BEST BALL RETRIEVERS 2021 - RESULTS

 ProductExtensionBall SecuritySturdinessHandleStorageTotal
I Gotcha

Check Price
3rd2nd6th1st3rd85
I Gotcha Jawz

Check Price
3rd4th6th1st3rd83
Golf Ball Gopher

Check Price
9th1st2nd1st6th80
I Gotcha Executive

Check Price
10th2nd2nd1st1st79.5
Inesis 100 Telescopic

Check Price
1st7th2nd9th7th79
Search N Rescue Blue Rescue

Check Price
3rd5th6th1st7th79
Callaway

Check Price
1st5th9th7th7th78.5
Orlimar

Check Price
3rd9th1st7th7th78
Search N Rescue Orange Trapper

Check Price
7th8th10th1st3rd78
Pro Active Sports

Check Price
8th9th2nd9th1st74.5

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, more than 300 million balls are lost every year in America alone. The average premium ball costs around $4 so 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: No. 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.