Tested: Best Golf Ball Retriever In 2023
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I don’t like hitting bad shots, but I can deal with it. What I really can’t stand is hitting a nearly brand new golf ball into the water just beyond my reach.
At first, I didn’t love the concept of using a golf ball retriever.
However, when I realized that each time I went to grab my golf ball out, I could get three or four more at the same time, I found this to be one of my favorite gadgets.
I tested several of the best golf ball retrievers on the market, which were my favorites. I made sure to choose several different price points to ensure you get one that is the right fit for your golf game.
Best Golf Ball Retrievers In 2023
Of course the top picks listed above are just our best recommendations for golf ball retrievers for this golf season. Below, we discuss in detail each of the products that we tested.
Best Overall: Callaway 15th Club
The best golf ball retriever is the Callaway 15th club. I like how easy this is to use, and also how easy it is to hide in my bag if I want to.
I don’t always like having the ball retriever sitting next to my club; from a mental standpoint, I’d rather not think about golf balls in the water!
With the 15th club being a telescoping design, it can fold to either 18 or 25 inches making it easy to put in my apparel pocket of the golf bag.
In addition, it comes with a headcover to keep the top of the retriever from damaging other clubs or the inside of my golf bag.
Callaway also includes an ergonomic handle on this one, something that makes it much easier when you have the retriever extended. This isn’t the cheapest golf ball retriever on the market, but it certainly can be the only one you need for quite some time.
- Comes with a headcover
- Two sizes available, either 6 or 15 feet
- Ergonomic handle
- Quick grabbing action
- Priced higher than other less feature-rich ball retrievers
Best For Longevity: Gotcha Jaws
If you have done a little bit of research for the best golf ball retriever, chances are you saw the Gotcha Jaws come up at some point. If you are looking for something that will last, this is it.
Let’s face it; when you use a golf ball retriever, it will most likely come into contact with the water. When this happens, it can rust, deteriorate and break down parts over time.
With the Gotcha Jaws, that is not the case. There are no moving parts on the head, and the teeth are like an enclosure, grab a ball and don’t let it go.
The Jaws is an 18ft ball retriever, and it will fold down to 21 inches in size. The total weight of the unit is just 19 ounces making it much easier to handle when it is fully extended and you are trying to bring a ball in.
In addition, the brand name is well known for its durability and will hold up for years to come. If you want something simple and low maintenance that you can always have in your bag, I will go with this one.
- Comes in an 18ft long option for longer reach
- Folds down to just 21 inches
- Lightweight telescoping design
- Head has no moving parts to break or deteriorate through the years
- Some people have a hard time balancing the ball in place
Best Premium: Pelican Golf Ball Retriever
If you live or play on a golf course with many water hazards, I would highly recommend the Pelican Golf Ball Retriever. This is a bit more durable and advanced than some others on the market, but it will be worth the money if you can get a dozen golf balls out of the water.
This model has a golden yellow nylon cup that is easy to see when under the water. In addition, the 18-foot maximum length gives you a pretty significant length when trying to retrieve a ball.
One of the other impressive features here is a Twist Turn Lock. You can make sure that the golf ball is not going anywhere the entire time you are bringing it back to the shore.
This one is a little heavier at 1.6 pounds, but that also gives it the necessary stability to get the balls on a slope or slightly stuck in the mud. The lightweight aluminum alloy shaft will not rust, even after years of use.
- The golden yellow cup makes it easy to see
- Twist turn lock to keep the ball in place
- Durable and slightly heavier design
- When fully extended, it can be a bit cumbersome and heavy
Best Value: Champkey 2 Sided
The Champkey 2 Sided ball retriever is a great option for golfers that are looking for great value. Golf ball retrievers are all about saving money; the more golf balls you find, the more money you save.
Therefore if you can find a ball retriever that is affordable, you are well on your way to recuperating your money.
The Champkey 2 Sided is not just affordable; it has good performance. It can extend 9 feet total (not quite as long as others on the market), but it folds down to about one foot.
What I liked best about the Champkey 2 Sided is how easy it is to snag a ball. Using the polyurethane grip that is strong and comfortable, I always felt as though I had control of this retriever.
The materials used in the Champkey 2 Sided are durable rubber and plastic. Therefore rust and corrosion will never be an issue.
If you store this one in the right spot and find a few Titleist Pro V1s with it, you will quickly earn your money back.
- Comfortable grip
- Rubber and plastic design for less corrosion
- Fits in all golf bags
- Telescoping design
- Not nearly as long as some other models
Best Hinged Cup Design: ProActive Sports Hinged Cup Retriever
Some golfers don’t like the concept of trying to balance the golf ball on top of a ring. If you are one of those and looking for more of a cup design, the Pro-Active Sports Hinged Cup Retriever is a good choice.
I like these options when stability is tough for you.
Sometimes the edge of the water is slippery, or you are reaching really far, and balancing the ball all the way back to the shore is too much. Instead, you can use something like the Pro-Active Sports Hinged Cup Retriever to lock it in.
The Pro-Active Sports Hinged Cup Retriever will extend up to 12 feet, and it can fold down to be placed on the side of your golf bag.
The cup part that traps the ball is made with lightweight aluminum material and weighs less than one pound. There should be no issues with rusting or deterioration over time.
Overall, I like this model if you have never felt like ball retrievers were doing their part to help you actually get the ball out of the water.
- Makes it easy to get a golf ball
- Very lightweight design
- Ergonomic rubber handle
- Extends out to 12 feet
- Not as extensive as others
- Takes a little time to figure out how to use it
Best Spring Loaded Design: IGOTCHA Golf Ball Retriever
We have looked at several different models and styles of golf ball retrievers, but this spring loaded option is one of the most popular in the industry. The IGOTCHA Golf Bal Retriever is well built, collapses to just 17.5 inches, and has a patented stainless steel shaft.
When you put this over a golf ball and press down slightly, the spring release head locks the golf ball into place. You can then bring it back in from about 14 feet away to ensure that you get the golf ball back.
The IGOTCHA Golf Ball Retriever is a top-selling model known for being one of the more durable options on the market.
I like the IGOTCHA products, and although I think the spring release head can cause problems over time if you are careful about where you store it and how you take care of it, there is plenty of longevity here.
- Very well-known model
- Easy to grab a golf ball
- Compact design
- Weighs just 10 ounces
- Spring release can break if you don’t handle it with care
Best With Headcover: Search and Rescue Ball Retriever
The Search and Rescue Ball Retriever was my favorite ball retriever with a headcover combination. If you are going t leave your retriever in your golf bag, there is no reason for it to hit the other clubs in your bag and cause damage.
Instead, use a ball retriever headcover to make sure all of your clubs are protected.
The Search and Rescue is made from weather resistant powder coated aluminum. The idea here is to ensure that the retriever does not get rusty or corroded through the years.
There are two options here, a 10-foot and a 15-foot; both will fold down to a compact size. However, if you have the headcover in place, you can easily fit this in a cart bag that has 15 slots.
- Easy to grab golf balls, put the ball over and lift up
- Weather resistant
- Dual zip head cover
- The lock bar concept takes a little while to get used to
- Slightly heavier than other models
What To Look For In The Best Golf Ball Retriever
Now that you have this list of my favorite golf ball retrievers, it’s time to determine which one will be the right fit for your golf bag. There are a few things that must be considered here to ensure you end up with the right product, everything from extended length to compact length matters with a ball retriever.
Most golf ball retrievers are between 6 and 21 feet long. The longer the ball retriever, the easier it is to get the ball in the middle of the hazard, but the harder it is to control the end of the retriever.
I like to go with a length in the 12-15 foot range. I feel like this gives me the perfect amount of control over the retriever while still being able to get golf balls that are within reach.
As you can see by looking at each of the ball retrievers I tried, the head of the retriever is considerably different from one to the next. Some will be like a bucket or a scoop; others have a hinge that traps the ball in place.
Some are just a way to balance the ball. You have to decide which is best for you. There are pros and cons to each, but in the end, if you practice using each kind, you can figure out how to get the golf ball out of the water.
The handle of the golf ball retriever should be ergonomic. When you have an ergonomic handle in place, you want fatigue trying to lift the ball out of the water. In addition, you don’t want something that is slippery and causes you to lose the golf ball.
The price point of a golf ball retriever is between $15 and $50. The more expensive designs are typically marketed a bit more, have a durable headpiece and handle and have good success rates when trying to grab a ball out of the water.
We usually recommend going with something that is priced in the middle of the road, but with the ball retriever, don’t be afraid to look at top-of-the-line choices; you won’t be buying another one for a long time.
The majority of golf ball retrievers are now telescoping designs. The telescoping design lets you store the retriever in your bag.
Worried about other golfers knowing that you do some fishing for balls on the course? Just keep it in the bag, and nobody has to know.
I like the telescoping designs because I don’t have to worry about the top of the receiver hitting my other clubs in the bag.
Some manufacturers have taken things a step further than just the telescoping design and created a headcover for their ball retriever. The headcover helps protect your other clubs, keeps the ball retriever in great shape, and ensures that you don’t get swampy golf course water in your bag!
I like the headcover, but if you buy a unit that does not have one, you can simply put a different type of hybrid headcover over it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about the best golf ball retrievers on the market.
There are dozens of these to choose from, and some are brands you likely never heard of before; if you are going to invest in one of these, make sure it’s a good fit for your game.
What is the best golf ball retriever?The best golf ball retriever we tried was the Callaway 15th club. I had no trouble grabbing the golf ball; it comes with a headcover to protect other clubs in the golf bag. In addition, the fact that it folds down makes it easy to keep this one in the golf bag.
Should you carry a golf ball retriever?It's entirely up to you whether or not you want to use a golf ball retriever. However, the golf ball retriever can save you quite a bit of money on golf balls. Most of the time, when a golf ball enters the water, it is still right on the edge. It's simple to grab it and get back in play each time; this can be a savings of three or four dollars.
What is a good length for a golf ball retriever?Most golf ball retrievers can extend between six and eighteen feet. Although you may think that the longer the retriever is, the better, when it gets further away from you, its hard to balance and keep the golf balls from rolling off. I like the 12-foot retriever, the 15-foot is also fine, and I just don't always extend it fully.
What is the easiest golf ball to spot?When looking for golf balls in the water, yellow and white seem to be the easiest to find. This is really the same thing for golf balls that are on the grass. Some colors, like blue and green, don't stand out as well in the water.
Hopefully, you can now choose a golf ball retriever with more confidence. I like having the Callaway 15th club in my bag; it has helped me recoup some of the money that I have spent on golf balls through the years.
I notice that it is easy to work with and fast enough that I don’t hold up any of the group behind me. We all hit golf balls into the water, the smart ones grab them out and save some money. At least, that’s how I look at it!