Golf ball retrievers are used for recovering your ball from a watery grave. I used to be a member of a club where 16 of the 18 holes involved water. Oh boy, did I need that golf ball retriever. All my playing partners used one and sometimes, if we were fed up with the weather, we had a competition to see who could retrieve the most! Mind you, a lot of them were old and grimy – we didn’t play with those. But if you do find yourself doing a lot of retrieving, remember to keep up the pace of the round, otherwise expect some black looks.
Anyway, on a serious note, if you have spent 50 bucks on a dozen top-of-the-range (excuse the pun) golf balls, and you see them disappearing into a water hazard on a regular basis, it’s only natural that you want your balls back. After all, there’s plenty of life in them. Time to invest a few dollars in the best golf ball retriever.
There are hundreds of golf accessories and some of them fall straight into the “ridiculous” category. However, golf ball retrievers are very popular and very useful. They are lightweight and easy to use. A must have.
But you don’t see many professionals’ caddies carrying a golf ball retriever in the bag. They’ll carry a bunch of favourite new balls instead; the pro can afford the best every shot!
Different types of golf ball retriever
There are many different types of ball retriever all with different prices and they have different functions apart from retrieval from a lake.
The standard golf ball retriever for retrieving your ball from water normally has features like being lightweight, easy to carry, an extendable telescopic shaft, a simple grab mechanism to rest over the ball and lift, different lengths, simple basket scoops, fancy grips, its own head cover (wow!) and so on. I’ve yet to find one with a heated grip. Golfers are tough!
There’s one that looks like a rake which retrieves multiple balls at once. A 2-ball model or a 5-ball model. Hmmm, ok.
And of course, they come in different colours; black, orange blue. I haven’t seen a pink one!
Then there’s the simple ball pick-up. Let’s not assume that these are for lazy golfers because they can be a god-send for the golfer with a bad back or simply someone who can’t bend like they used to. These often fit onto the end of your putter for convenience. Clever, eh?
And let’s not forget that big long tube thing that seems to suck up balls like a powerful vacuum cleaner. It stores over 20 balls and no need to bend down. Perfect. And to take a step further, a shag bag (yes, really) will collect 100 balls with no bending. Great for the golf range, I guess.
Did you know you can buy special tinted ball finder glasses which make ball spotting easier. Special tinted lenses filter out grass and foliage so white balls appear to glow against a non-white background. They come with their own protective case. Oh boy, what next?
Are dogs allowed on golf courses? They can retrieve things. Hmmm… probably not.
Ok stop, I’m having too much fun here!
You won’t believe this
It is reckoned that in America alone, millions of golf balls end up in water hazards every year. And so, their recovery is big business, estimated to be worth 200 million dollars. Scuba divers, grab your gear! Divers have got to be the best golf ball retrievers.
Most divers in this business are independent contractors that typically pay the course a nominal fee for exclusive rights to retrieve the courses golf balls, usually up to a few cents per found ball. Some courses on the other hand allow contractors to retrieve the golf balls in exchange for supplying the course with a portion of the refurbished balls. Even an independent retriever can recover up to 150,000 to 300,000 golf balls a year.
The actual money earned by golf ball retrieval comes from recycling the found golf balls and selling them back to courses or golfers, which is a task more easily said than done. Each golf ball has to be cleaned thoroughly through a series of complicated cleaning processes and are usually polished or re-coated to remove scratches and nicks before being re-circulated. This job is often performed by golf ball recycling companies that process and repackage the golf balls, and market them as well. Retrieval divers sell their haul to the recycling companies at once again a few cents per ball recovered. However, there are a few independent retrieval divers that clean and process their own hauls and selling them back to golfers which is where the real money lies.
Anyway, back to reality.
The best golf ball retriever
We recommend these as some of the most popular and best golf ball retrievers.
#1 IGOTCHA Golf Ball Retriever
The IGOTCHA golf ball retriever is a sturdy, retractable, easy to use ball retriever with a long reach. Simple to use, it has an ingenious trapping mechanism. Use it in out of bounds areas or water hazards.
To grab your ball, place the ring over the golf ball and press down. The downward pressure pushes on a spring tripping another ring that locks in the ball.
The retrieving mechanism is made of 2 small rings, one smaller than the other. It extends to a very useful 14ft. This is a very popular golf ball retriever.
#2 JP Lann Golf Ball Retrievers
JP Lann Golf Ball Retrievers are available in metal hinge or orange pressure cup styles. Size choices are 9, 12, 15 or 18-foot sizes (and 6 ft 7 inch compact in orange pressure cup only).
The retrievers have an adjustable telescopic shaft with a locking mechanism. The shaft is black anodized to prevent rusting. Each has a comfortable rubber grip handle. And the ring is easily visible under water.
Very easy operation to scoop up “lost” balls.
- Durable construction
- Easily traps ball
- Ball will not fall out until turned completely upside down
- Durable aluminum shaft
- Available in 4 different lengths
- Telescoping shaft design makes the retriever easy to carry
#3 JBM Golf Ball Retriever Device
With the JBM retriever, all you have to do is place the recovery head over your golf ball and lift it. The recovery rings are constructed using stainless steel.
- The aluminum alloy used gives it a longer shelf life
- Very durable
- Telescopic shaft
- Sturdy shaft and grip
- This retriever will soon pay for itself
- A very popular golf ball retriever
- Owners say “I love it” “Perfect”
The best golf ball retrievers are not expensive and give great value for money. When you get yours, you’ll wonder why you took so long to buy one. Have fun.