Stay Dry: Best Golf Ball Retrievers of 2023

golf ball retriever

Don’t you hate it when you see a $4 or $5 golf ball splash into a pond? 

The dreaded water ball adds insult to injury as you have to take a penalty stroke and lose some money every time you do it. If you’re struggling or playing a course that has a ton of water, a round of golf can get expensive quickly. 

Instead of risking yourself falling in or ruining your nice golf shoes as you trudge through mud, it might be time to buy a golf ball retriever. These simple, cheap devices make it easy to rescue your balls from a watery demise and not waste money. 

Plus, as golf continues to grow since 2020, there are more options than ever to choose from. Keep reading to find out the best retrievers for any budget below. 

Golf Course Water Hazard

Best Golf Ball Retrievers

1. ProWithLin Golf Ball Retriever

Great Value
Prowithlin Golf Ball Retriever

Prowithlin Golf Ball Retriever

  • Stainless steel extendable golf ball retriever
  • Lightweight and durable golf ball retriever
  • Automatic locking device
  • Multifunctional & telescopic design

One of the highest ranked retrievers on Amazon is the latest from ProWithLin. 

This retriever is small, compact, and has the easier scooping system to save any golf ball from the water. You can choose from a six foot or nine foot fully extended option.

Even though it can extend 6 or 9 feet, it’s incredibly lightweight at only seven ounces. This makes it easy to use and convenient to store. 

But the best part is the automatic locking scoop cup design. This makes it so much easier than others to grab your ball and not worry about it going back in the water (and slowing up play). 

This device also comes with a golf ball pick up system so you don’t have to bend down to pick balls either. Plus, thanks to its stainless steel design, you won’t have to worry about rust either.  

Thanks to its weight, design, and easy pickup system, it’s great for seniors or anyone with back issues too. 

2. Callaway Golf Ball Retriever

Best Seller
Callaway 15th Club Golf Ball Retriever For Water

Callaway 15th Club Golf Ball Retriever For Water

  • Comes in 2 sizes and can extend up to 6 or 15 feet with minimal bending
  • equipped with an ergonomic sure-grip handle that allows you to easily handle the ball retriever golf tool even when fully extended 
  • Quick and Easy Retrieval

This retriever from Callaway is not cheap, but it’s one of the highest quality ones that you can buy. People around the world love this item as it has over 5,000 reviews and tons of positive experiences from players. You can choose from the six foot or the 15-foot option when fully extended.

Thanks to its telescopic design, it’s extremely lightweight and is only 25 inches when retracted. Small enough to where you can store it in the apparel pocket of your golf bag without getting in the way of your other clubs. It also has an ergonomic design so that you can pick up balls easily and offer their quick and easy retrieval system.

But the best part about this option? 

It even comes with a headcover. So if you do want to store it in your golf bag, it will blend in with the rest of your clubs no problem. 

Also Read: How To Clean Golf Clubs

3. Pelican Golf Ball Retriever

Multi Length
Pelican Golf Ball Retriever

Pelican Golf Ball Retriever

  • Multiple length options
  • Lightweight only weighs 1.6 pounds
  • Can fold to fit in your pocket

While the Callaway retriever is a great option, it might not extend as long as you want. Luckily, the Pelican retriever is also highly reviewed and comes in longer lengths too. You can choose from 12, 15, and even 18 feet long. 

Despite its multiple length options, it won’t weigh your bag down as it only weighs 1.6 pounds. The retrieval system is different as well with its cup technology, but still easy to scoop out of the water. When it’s fully collapsed, it is 43 inches long, which is about a 3-wood length. If you do opt for this one, just know it will take up some extra space in your bag as it can’t fit in a pocket.

4. ProWithLin Spring Release Retriever

Spring Release
ProWithLin Spring Release Retriever

ProWithLin Spring Release Retriever

  • Lightweight but very strong enough
  • Spring-release ready head and steel nail fixing design
  • Multi colored handle options
  • Spring release head locking clip

This option is similar to the first on this list, but does have a few key differences. First is the design, as it’s got some flash thanks to its colored handle and retrieval system. You can opt for blue, green, orange or yellow so that it’s easy to find in your bag. 

The second main difference is the cup retrieval system itself, as this one offers a spring release head locking clip. This feature will avoid shaking or vibration when in the cart and also make it easy to grab your ball without the cupping system. 

At full extension, this retriever is six or nine feet depending on the one you choose and is only 15.7 inches fully collapsed. Plus, it also comes with a ball picker as well to help you avoid bending over any more than you need too.

5. ProActive Super-Lite Retriever

ProActive Sports Player Select Super-Lite Golf Ball Retriever

ProActive Sports Player Select Super-Lite Golf Ball Retriever

  • Super lightweight - This durable fiberglass retriever weighs only 7 ounces
  • Compact - When collapsed the retriever conveniently fits in the apparel pocket of your golf bag
  • Hi-vis head - High visibility green retriever head makes it easy to navigate in murky water
  • Securely traps ball - Patented design locks the ball in place to be easily retrieved
  • Push button release - Locks and unlocks telescoping shaft

A newer retriever that has rave reviews is from Pro Active Sports. The ProActive retriever is the lightest retriever on the market and only weighs seven ounces! It’s the perfect length at nine feet when fully extended and makes retrieving your balls easy. 

Not only is it lightweight, it’s collapsible and fits in your large apparel pocket with ease. The push button release locks and unlocks the shaft so your hands stay dry. It also has a high visibility head thanks to the neon green design so it’s easy to fish your balls out of the water. 

6. IGOTCHA Golf Ball Retriever

Amazon Choice
IGOTCHA Golf Ball Retriever

IGOTCHA Golf Ball Retriever

  • 6-foot length
  • 10-foot maximum reach
  • Collapses to 15.5 inches
  • The most compact retriever available
  • Ultra-compact
  • Telescoping shaft allows for convenient portability
  • Hides in the side pocket of the golf bag

Another top pick for golf ball retrievers is the one from IGOTCHA. This is “Amazon’s choice” and one of the highest ranked ones on the market. 

You get to choose between three options; the 10 foot, executive retriever, or the ultimate retriever. The design of the head is the same for all three and the only difference is length. The executive is 10 feet, the XL is 14 feet, and the Ultimate XL has 18 feet of reach. 

For most golfers, I would recommend the 10-foot as it collapses to only 15.5 inches and is very compact. It also has a patented stainless steel shaft, plus spring-release ready head. But the executive isn’t much longer at only 17.5 inches long. Whichever option you decide, you can’t go wrong with one of the top-rated retrievers.  

7. Finger Ten Golf Ball Retriever Pole

Finger Ten Golf Ball Retriever Pole

Finger Ten Golf Ball Retriever Pole

  • 12, 15 or 18 feet length options
  • Lightweight aluminum design
  • comes with a pocket pouch

The final option is the Finger Ten retriever pole which comes in 12, 15 or 18 feet designs. Thanks to its aluminum design, it won’t rust and offers an easy-to-use scooping mechanism. 

This one also comes with a pocket pouch that you can attach to your bag to easily clean your golf balls. 

Top Questions About Golf Ball Retrievers 

Have more questions about getting your ball out of the water (or other trouble) with ease? Check out the top questions and answers below.

How do I pick the right golf ball retriever?

There are tons of options when it comes to buying this golf accessory. To narrow down your choices, compare them based on the following criteria.

  • Length: Probably the biggest factor is the size of the retriever; not only how far it extends but length when it’s collapsed. If you have a larger cart bag, a bigger retriever won’t get in the way of your other clubs. But if you have a smaller stand bag without as much storage, I would recommend a smaller collapsible option. 
  • Design: Some retrievers are made with super light fiberglass while others are made with aluminum. The fiberglass is the lightest design and won’t weigh your bag down if you choose to walk vs. ride in a golf cart.  
  • Type of Retriever Head: Another thing to consider is the style of head with your retriever. Some offer a cup design, while others are a telescopic design. This is more of a personal preference than anything else. 
  • Price: Don’t forget to factor in the price too. Most are under $35 but there are some exceptions so make sure to read the reviews about the design to see if it’s worth it. 
  • Headcover: Lastly, if you want to hide your retriever, some offer a matching headcover so it looks more like a hybrid. This is a good way to keep your retriever a secret without your friends giving you grief for fishing golf balls out of the water. 

What is the longest golf ball retriever made? 

After extensive research, the longest retriever available is 21-feet.

Some companies offer 15-18 feet but the longest is slightly more than 20 feet. At this length you can nearly grab a ball in the middle of a pond. 

If you’re looking for length above all else, the IGOTCHA aluminum golf ball retriever is the best option. Despite its size, the aluminum alloy shaft keeps the retriever lightweight and sturdy enough to extend to more than 20 feet. When retracted, it’s only 46 inches in length and weighs 25 ounces. 

What is a good length for a golf ball retriever? 

Golf ball retrievers can vary from 8-21 feet; a “good length” is typically in the 8-12 foot range. 

Anything longer and it’s hard to always see the golf ball and successfully retrieve it. Anything shorter and it’s not much more helpful than fishing a ball out with a golf club after a shank

Does a ball retriever count as a club?

No, a golf ball retriever does not count as a club. As a reminder the USGA and R&A allows players to carry 14 clubs in the bag. If you carry more than 14, you will get penalized and possibly DQ’d from an official event. 

Here’s the explanation from the USGA about retrievers, “A golf club is required to have a head and a shaft. Umbrellas or ball retrievers carried by players are not counted as clubs as these objects do not meet both of those requirements, even though they might have golf grips on them.”

While it might count as a club by the USGA, a large retriever might take up space in your bag. If you have a golf bag with 14 individual dividers, make sure to buy a smaller option that can fit in one of your larger pockets. 

How does a telescopic golf ball retriever work? 

A telescopic retriever has a spring and plastic clamp that attach and lock around the golf ball. You typically need to adjust the clamp from its resting position so it has the ability to scoop the ball out of the water. 

Where do you put a ball retriever in a bag?

I like collapsible retrievers as they don’t take up space in the main compartment of your golf bag. Instead, they stay in the apparel pocket and won’t potentially damage the golf shafts either. 

But if your retriever doesn’t collapse, you can use one of the main pockets. Some large cart bags even have 15 spots (since one compartment is known as a putter well, which is great for oversized “fat” grips). If your retriever comes with a headcover, you can also put it near your woods and hybrids and it’ll blend in with your set. 

Wrapping Up

If you’re tired of losing golf balls in the water, it might be time to add a 15th club aka, a retriever. There are tons of choices to choose from so make sure to consider:

  • Total extended length.
  • Total collapsed length.
  • What retrieval system you want (telescopic vs. cup design).
  • If you want a headcover to disguise your 15th club or store in your bag.
  • Accessories such as a pocket pouch to clean your balls or a claw pick up system.

The only thing I ask is that if you do carry a retriever, don’t let it hold up the pace of play. 

There’s nothing worse than being behind a group where someone is fishing more than they are golfing. If it’s not your ball, leave it there, as most balls in the pond get water damage and speed up pace of play

Do you use a golf ball retriever? Or, would you not be caught dead with one in your golf bag? 

Let us know down below in the comments! 

Picture of Phil Grounds

Phil Grounds

Phil is an avid golfer, and the creator of The Golfers Gear. He’s been playing golf for 30 years, and is obsessed with improving his game and sharing his experience helping fellow golfers score better.

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