10 Best Ball Retrievers | April 2017

10 Best Ball Retrievers
Best Mid-Range
★★★★
Best High-End
★★★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★
We spent 39 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Good golf balls are very expensive, especially if yours are prone to landing in the water hazards and thick rough on many courses. With one of these handy retrievers, you can minimize your losses as you play. They'll pick up balls easily from lakes, under bushes, and in mud, and some can even save you from having to bend over at the end of each hole. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best ball retriever on Amazon.
10
The Signstek Retreiver offers decent quality and performance without a high price tag. Its stainless steel shaft is lightweight for easy maneuvering, and an automatic locking arm on the scoop prevents balls from dropping out when it's turned upside down.
  • ergonomic handle is easy to grip
  • very compact when collapsed
  • feels a bit flimsy when extended
Brand Signstek
Model pending
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
9
The ProActive Sports MBR012 works like a charm without any frustration. It boasts a lightweight, telescoping aluminum pole with a rubber handle, and has a hinged cup design that easily traps the ball and releases it with a simple tap.
  • comes in 15- or 18-foot lengths
  • retracts to under 4 feet
  • head connection is a bit weak
Brand ProActive
Model MB-HC-24
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
8
The Orlimar OR07237 helps to avoid any unnecessary back or hand strain thanks to its telescoping handle that can reach up to 15 feet. It can stand upright among your clubs for easy access right at your fingertips, so there's no need to hold up the game.
  • well-made and affordable
  • comfortable rubber grip
  • too tall for some golf bags
Brand Orlimar
Model OR07237
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
7
The Callaway 15th Club is a worthwhile investment that will come in handy on the course. It's easy to maneuver whether you're a beginner or a pro and makes such quick work of recapturing lost balls that you may go home with a few more than you took.
  • steel rings provide a secure grip
  • includes a zippered head cover
  • plastic parts may wear out over time
Brand Callaway
Model C10400
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
6
Rescue your golf balls effortlessly using the ultra lightweight Champ Pro-Lite. It has a 9-foot telescoping shaft, comes with a convenient carrying case and can even be used to lift your winners from a course's holes if you don't feel like bending over.
  • effective at most angles
  • patented locking design
  • some find it hard to collapse
Brand Pro Active
Model DBR002
Weight 7.8 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
5
The Yuauy Suction Cup is an extremely simple solution when it comes to picking balls up from relatively easy-to-reach surfaces. Simply pop one onto the end of one of your golf clubs and you'll never need to bend down on the course again.
  • cheap and compact
  • comes as a pack of four
  • gives off a strong rubbery smell
Brand Yuauy
Model pending
Weight 6.2 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
4
The collapsible JP Lann Metal comes with a hinged cup design and is available in lengths from 9 to 18 feet to meet your particular needs on the course. It folds down to around four feet, so it slides right into your golf bag with your clubs.
  • simple flip-to-capture design
  • works well in standing water
  • some units lock in extended position
Brand JP Lann
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.6 / 5.0
3
The JTD Enterprises Search And Rescue is one of the highest quality options on the market thanks to its patented wide-head design that resists corrosion and can grab two balls at once. It offers great control with tubes that lock at any length.
  • hand-assembled in the usa
  • no breakable locking mechanism
  • impressive 18-foot reach
Brand JTD Enterprises
Model TB-18
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
2
If you're averse to carrying an entire contraption dedicated to fishing your balls out of hard to reach places, or you don't make many mistakes and just want something to lift them out once they're in the hole, the Nickel Putter Pick-Up may be the one for you.
  • attaches to the end of any club
  • collapsible three-pronged design
  • discreet when not in use
Brand Nickel Putter
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
1
Trust the iGotcha Executive XL to get you back in the game quickly and easily. Weighing just 12 ounces, it extends to an impressive 14 feet and collapses to a mere 20 inches, so it can fit in the long side pocket of your golf bag between uses.
  • works on most surfaces
  • very simple release mechanism
  • extends with a single pull
Brand I Gotcha Golf
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

The Confusing History Of Golf

The true origins of golf have been debated for years, with no clear answer in site. Golf-like games have been played in a number of different cultures over the years. As far back as 100 B.C.E., there was a Roman game known as paganica, in which players would hit stuffed leather balls with bent sticks. Some historians site this as the true origin of golf, but others point to Chuiwan, a game from Song Dynasty China in which players also hit a ball with a stick. Another early game that might have been a precursor to golf is cambuca, an English stick-and-ball game from the 12th century.

Because references to golf-like games have been found in various cultures through the years, it is difficult for historians to say with confidence where it started. Until recently, it was often accepted that Scotland held the origins of what evolved into modern day golf, but new evidence now supports the theory that it was first played in the Netherlands, before migrating into Scotland. The earliest picture of people playing golf was found in a book written early in the 15th century in France. It was owned by the duchess of Burgundy and predates any reference to golf in Scotland.

Whatever the true origins of golf may be, it is known that it was extremely popular in Scotland and had to be outlawed by the Scottish parliament in 1457, as it was interfering with the military's archery training. In 1500, King James IV lifted the ban on golf because he was a fan of the sport and often liked to play it himself.

In the 17th century, golf became a popular pastime in England, and the first British Open was held in 1860. Around this same time, golf's popularity was spreading throughout the western world. North America's first permanent golf club, Canada’s Royal Montreal Club, was established in Montreal in 1873. The United States quickly followed suit with a permanent 18-hole golf course of their own, built at Wheaton, Illinois' Chicago Golf Club in 1893.

The Golf Ball Retriever

Golf ball retrievers are used to retrieve golf balls that might otherwise have been out of reach, in water hazards or deep rough, for example. They have a telescopic rod, with some extending 20 feet or more, and some kind of head on the top that is capable of picking up balls. Most pick up balls by using a simple scooping action, but some models are designed to be pressed down on top of a ball. These models often have some way to secure the ball in the head so it doesn't fall out when the retriever is lifted up. Golf ball retrievers are invaluable if one often plays on courses with deep water hazards.

The golf ball retriever was first patented in 1964 by Harvey G Wysong. Before he created the ball retriever, it was common for players to abandon balls hit into water hazards. Golf courses would either hire divers or drain the water hazards periodically to retrieve the balls, which they would later sell back to players as used balls.

In 1976, Anthony F. Piazza patented a vacuum-based golf ball retriever. It combined a tapered receptacle with a vacuum pump that could be pressurized to suck up golf balls into the receptacle. A lever was incorporated to release the vacuum pressure when it was time to drop the ball.

Piazza thought this would make retrieving balls easier, and allow for players to retrieve balls from putting green cups without having to bend over. While this style of retriever did enjoy some measure of success, they are currently difficult to find with players often choosing to use the simpler scoop style retrievers.

Picking The Right Ball Retriever

When choosing a golf ball retriever, players must often make a compromise between length and portability. On one hand, it makes sense to purchase the longest ball retriever available, but this can make them difficult to transport in a golf bag. Before purchasing a retriever, players should measure their planned storage place to ensure it will fit when fully retracted. This may be a side pocket on a golf bag or, if there is additional room, in a club slot.

The build material should also be taken into account when purchasing a ball retriever. Since they will regularly be exposed to water, one should look for one made out of stainless steel or aluminum, as these metals will not rust. If picking a stainless steel model, double check the weight. Overly heavy ball retrievers will be unwieldy and difficult to use when fully extended.

If you are worried about the ball falling out after being retrieved, look for a model that has some kind of locking mechanism to keep the ball securely in place. If you like to scour the water hazards for balls other players have abandoned, consider a retriever with a head designed to pick up multiple balls. Some may have room to hold two or three balls at a time. This allows you to retrieve more balls with less effort.



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Last updated on April 24, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.


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