Losing golf balls is part of playing golf but leaving the course with more golf balls than you came with is PROFIT! Golf ball retrievers can pay themselves off within 5 rounds of golf ball profiteering.
Golf balls are expensive so finding them on the golf course can take the sting out of a bad shot, but finding a few that aren't yours is the cherry on the top. Since I moved to Thailand, I have seen the value of a golf ball retriever. Didi on my channel has one because there are so many water hazards on golf courses over here and he hasn't bought a golf ball in 8 years because he finds so many.
You have to know which are the best golf ball retrievers, as all are not made equal. A sports fisherman would not use a junk fishing rod to catch the big salmon, just like you shouldn't use a junk retriever to catch yourself some $4 Pro V1! In this guide I have found the best golf ball retrievers on the market today so you can start profiting from your escapades in the everglades.
I believe the ToVii Golf Ball Retriever is the best on the market.
Best Golf Ball Retrievers 2023
Best telescopic design and hi visibility retriever head
When I was in the USA recently I saw a lot of guys with this golf ball retriever in their golf bag. I was playing mostly desert golf, and golfers would be using this retriever to get their balls back from between rocks and from under spiky cacti avoiding the rattlesnakes. A playing partner said he would never go into the desert scrub again after seeing a rattle snake so this is essential gear.
The ToVii is available in two length options, 15ft and 18ft when fully extended. Guys who have used both said that the longer option was a little less sturdy and the shorter retriever was easier to control - sometimes the long one can bend and make difficult to pick up the ill gotten golf ball gains. The telescopic design is as smooth as silk and at only 19.4 Oz, this is a very lightweight retriever.
The high quality aluminum alloy shaft and rubber grip feel premium and the hard nylon retriever head will last for a long time. The orange head colour of the retriever head is also really useful when fishing balls out of water hazards as it stands out really clearly.
There's no fancy locking mechanism on this retriever. Golf balls fit perfectly into the head and pop out with a firm tap or push when you want them too. This is the best golf ball retriever on the market today.
Simple design which almost acts like a magnet for golf balls
When I saw this golf ball retriever in action I couldn't believe my eyes. This thing will grab golf balls like they're magnetic, it's a pretty crazy thing to see!
Unlike other ball retrievers, the Search and rescue retriever is made completely from anodized aluminum and has no moving parts in the head. This is significant as it makes the whole unit very robust and reduces the amount of things which could go wrong.
The telescopic mechanism is smooth but it doesn't lock into place. I didn't find this to be an issue but it could be frustrating if your attempting to retrieve balls stuck in mud and the unit retracts.
Not the cheapest ball retriever on the market but the quality construction makes this one of the best golf ball retrievers out there.
Best golf ball retriever for seniors or those with a bad back
The Prowithlin golf ball retriever is one of the most popular ball retrievers for older golfers. It is constructed from stainless steel - meaning it will never rust.
A 6ft maximum length means it isn't one of the longest ball retrievers in this guide, but this makes it one of the most solid I've used. There's very little bend in the stainless steel shaft and even the most hard to reach golf balls can be accessed with east.
The locking mechanism in the head takes a little bit of getting used to. Once you have the twist and roll motion down though, it's a breeze. it has a comfortable grip which is available in a number of different colours.
An added bonus with this retriever is that it also comes with a nifty little ball grabber that attaches into the handle. This means you don't have to break your back to pick balls up off the green, making it a really solid option for senior golfers or those (like me) who have a bad back from time to time!
High end ball retriever for a big name brand
This Callaway golf ball retriever is the Rolls Royce of ball retrievers and is a good as you would expect from a product with the Callaway brand stamped on it. The only reason it's not top of the list is that it can be significantly more expensive than other golf ball retrievers.
This is called a "Pocket Ball Retriever" as it can be stored in a golf bag side pocket. It comes in both a 15" length and 6" length and it looks pretty inconspicuous. A nice feature of this retriever is the zip head cover. When it's in your bag, it looks like another golf club!
The high-quality aluminum alloy construction minimizes bending when it fully extended and the handle is really comfy. The "jaws' like retrieval mechanism is really sturdy and there is little risk of a golf ball falling out once you've got it.
What Should I Look for in a Golf Ball Retriever?
The key feature of a ball retriever is mechanism that captures the golf ball and returns it to the golfer. Once you've found that ball, you want to make sure that when you snag it, it stays in the retriever.
The most basic golf ball retrievers have a simple enclosure that looks like a basket. A knock against a tree or rock will often make the ball fall out of these.
Better designed enclosures include a clasp, held firm by a spring that captures the ball and locks it in place. These more complicated models are more expensive but will save you time in the long run.
Does size matter to you?
Ball retrievers with short shafts that typically measure around six feet tend to be more stable but obviously you are limited as to how far you grab a ball from.
Long ball retrievers have long shaft lengths (obviously). The longest shaft lengths on ball retrievers can measure up to 18 feet, giving the golfer five yards of extension for securing a hard to reach golf ball.
Longer shafted retrievers have a telescopic mechanism which can degrade over time. Beware.
One of the essential elements of the handle is the grip. Some retrievers offer a grip similar to a golf club with moderate tackiness that keeps the product firmly inside the hand. Other retrievers offer oversized grips that are ridged but ergonomic for a custom fit easy to hold.
The handle is usually made from composite rubber materials that offer flexibility, cushion, and tackiness. Golfers need handles that will wear well over time, provide comfort while holding, and create the grip needed to leverage the retriever when collecting the golf ball.
Retrievers also need handles that work well in all types of weather conditions. Grips that offer the same grip in the rain as in dry conditions are a bonus for golfers looking for a retriever that meets high standards.
The stability of a retriever is measured by how solid the product performs when retrieving a golf ball. Since most golfers believe that the quality of the shaft anchors stability in a retriever, golfers should judge how the shaft performs when fully extended.
Retrievers with a short shaft offer more stability than longer-shafted retrievers. Since most shafts are made from aluminum, the shorter ones have more strength with less flex. The longer retrievers need more flexibility to help the enclosure reach golf balls farther away.
Easy to capture enclosures also offer premium stability and reliability. Cheaper retrievers force the golfer to scoop the ball to secure it, but high-quality enclosures use modern innovations to provide easy methods to bring a missing ball back to the player.
The material quality used on a ball retriever is crucial to its overall performance. A retriever is made with three essential components: handle, shaft, and enclosure. If each component is made with high-quality materials, then the retriever will provide high performance and a pleasing experience.
The length of the shaft of the retriever also plays a huge role in the product’s ability to quickly grab and retrieve a ball. Longer retrievers need shafts that are made from high-quality materials to maintain stability. Since the shaft is long, it must stay relatively rigid to make grabbing the ball easy to accomplish.
Shorter retrievers have more room for error, making the quality of the shaft’s material less critical because they typically offer a short, stiff arm to reach errant golf balls.
Longest golf ball retrievers
If you're in the market for the a longer ball retriever, these are the ones you want to consider:
There are other ball retrievers which have a shaft length beyond 18ft, but I've found these to be very unstable and will often break if they are extendable. If you need a retriever longer than say 20ft, look into buying a length of aluminum pipe and have a ball retriever attached to it.
Golf ball retrievers for water - what to look for
If you will be using a retractable golf ball retriever primarily for getting balls out of water hazards, then you need to consider a few key features to make sure you're buying the right golf ball retriever for the job. The things to consider are:
- Visibility - can you see the head of the retriever when it's under the water
- Construction material - if you will be submerging the retriever shaft in water, it needs to be made from and anti rust material like stainless steel.
- Simple locking mechanism - water can make moving parts degrade over time, so a retriever with a simple mechanism to hold the ball in place is ideal
If you're losing way too many golf balls, you should check out the following guides on the recycled vs refurbished golf balls; the best golf balls for high handicappers so you can save some money and the best golf balls for high visibility to help you locate the retrievable golf balls.
If you're into to saving money a golf ball retriever could be the most important piece of golf equipment you own! For beginner golfers, lost balls will be common part of their golf game and having a ball retriever at hand to fish balls out of hazards will sometime allow you to find more balls than you lose.
A ball retriever is also essential for golfers you play in areas where the hazards really are dangerous - if there are snakes or other critters present. Don't be a hero and get the best ball retriever you can afford.