Best Golf Ball Retrievers: 5 Tools to Score Free Golf Balls for Life
Golf balls today are expensive. Like, really expensive.
And you know what? I, for one, am tired of losing these precious little nuggets.
Which is why, despite whatever stigma you want to assign, I’m not sleeping on golf ball retrievers.
When you consider that for something in the neighborhood of $35, you can get a quality, functional, portable, discreet golf ball retriever, why wouldn’t you consider adding one to your bag? After all, you only have to find about eight top-line balls to recoup your investment. And, as you’ll see, you can actually get a decent ball retriever for considerably less than $35.
Now, let’s be real. We all know that golfer who scours every water hazard, combs through every bush, and generally just wastes a ton of time on the golf course. All in search of a ball they’re likely to lose on the very next hole. This whole ball-hunting thing can be a bit silly.
But it can also be entirely practical. If you’re smart about when you employ this tool, it really can come in handy. Especially in those instances where you can see your ball but can’t quite reach it.
So, that’s what we’re getting into today. Believe it or not, not all golf ball retrievers are created equal. So, to save you the time on deciding which one to buy, we’ve put together this short list of winners.
Behold: The five best golf ball retrievers currently on the market.
BEST COMPACT GOLF BALL RETRIEVER: I GOTCHA XL BALL RETRIEVER
One of the biggest deterrents to carrying a golf ball retriever is the space that it takes up.
Another is the stigma that may come with having that apparatus sticking out of your bag. In some circles, it’s like announcing yourself as a hack.
The I Gotcha Ultimate XL Ball Retriever addresses both of those issues.
Don’t be fooled by the “XL” in the name. This baby retracts to just 20 inches and weighs just 20 ounces, allowing it to fit easily into almost any golf bag side pocket. Brilliant! You don’t have to worry about putting your retriever on display. Instead, you can pull it out only when you need it.
The I Gotcha is also completely functional with an 18-foot reach and a spring-loaded ball trap that works reliably.
- Price: $59.99
- Where Can You Buy: Buy the I Gotcha Ultimate XL Ball Retriever here.
Folding down to just 20 inches and featuring an 18 foot reach? This retriever is not only one the most compact, it's one of the longest as well, making it an excellent choice.
BEST GOLF BALL RETRIEVER WITH PUTTER EXTENSION: PROWITHLIN BALL RETRIEVER
Sometimes, we think of ball retrievers as only tools for retrieving wayward golf balls, but the classification can extend into back-saving devices for picking the ball up off the green or out of the hole. This handy tool does it all.
The Prowithlin ball retriever is lightweight and durable and has options for an extended length of 6.5 feet or 9 feet. It has a telescopic shaft and the scoop includes an automatic locking mechanism so that once you capture the ball, you can retrieve it without worry of re-losing it.
But what sets this device apart is the putter extension. This golf ball retriever comes with a grabber that you can screw into the butt end of your putter. The device will easily grip the ball, so that you no longer need to bend over to pick it up out of the hole or off the putting surface after your playing partner tells you it’s good. So, if you suffer from any back pain, this simple solution could be a game-changer.
- Price: $14.59 (6.5-ft. reach) or $20.99 (9-ft. reach)
- Where Can You Buy: Buy the Prowithlin Ball Retriever here.
It's not the longest at only 6 feet, but the putter retriever is what sets it apart. Never have to bend down to pick up a ball again!
BEST BUDGET GOLF BALL RETRIEVER: CHAMPKEY TELESCOPIC GOLF BALL PICKER
A golf ball retriever really is a fairly simple device. And CHAMPKEY does a nice job of giving you what you need without overthinking anything. By focusing on just functionality, they’ve brought a product to the market that gets the job done for as little as $13.59.
CHAMPKEY offers a range of reach lengths, starting at 6 feet and $13.59 and going up to 14.5 feet and $26.99. You can also choose between blue and yellow for the color of the head, while the polyurethane handle is a standard black.
This retriever isn’t quite as sophisticated as ones that include spring-loading-and-locking systems. Instead, you get a two-sided retriever head made of rubber and plastic. The elasticity of the rubber allows the retriever to slide over the golf ball and then contract once it has the ball in its grip.
One bonus is that with the plastic and rubber materials on the retriever head, you won’t have the rust and corrosion issues you might get with other models after picking golf balls from water hazards.
- Price: Starting at $13.59
- Where Can You Buy: Buy the CHAMPKEY Telescopic Golf Ball Picker here.
With multiple size options up to 14 feet, this is a great choice for a solid, budget ball retriever. Nothing fancy, but gets the job done.
MOST VERSATILE GOLF BALL RETRIEVER: JP LANN 2-IN-1 COMBO GOLF BALL RETRIEVER
How about this for a back-saver? One tool that can both retrieve your ball and rake your bunkers. This might seem like a useless gimmick to some, but for those people who tire of having to reach down to pick up the bunker rake, this could be legitimately helpful.
The JP Lann has a 15-foot reach on a telescopic shaft that can retract down to a little more than 3.5 feet.
And while the rake feature is designed to clean up sand traps, it can also serve as an additional way to quickly and easily corral golf balls.
- Price: $33.99
- Where Can You Buy: Buy the JP Lann 2-in-1 Combo Golf Ball Retriever here.
Looking for a golf ball retriever that can serve double duty as a rake as well? Hopefully you don't spend that much time in the bunkers, but if you do? This is the device for you.
BEST OVERALL GOLF BALL RETRIEVER: I GOTCHA JAWZ GOLF BALL RETRIEVER
The I Gotcha Jawz just works and works well.
It’s solidly built with a co-molded rubberized retriever surface and a durable stainless-steel shaft.
It’s got reach options of 10 feet, 14 feet and 18 feet, which means it can reach as far as any golf ball retriever on this list.
The single-piece retriever head with gripping teeth makes it simple to grab golf balls.
And it comes in an assortment of color options, including yellow, blue and green.
If you want to buy one golf ball retriever and not worry about it eventually wearing out, this is our pick. It’ll likely get the job done for the remainder of your golfing days.
- Price: $34.99-$59.99 (depending on size and color)
- Where Can You Buy: Buy the I Gotcha Jawz Golf Ball Retriever here.
The creme-de-la-creme of golf ball retrievers. If you're looking for a device that picks up balls easily, and can get up to 18 feet long? Look no further than the JAWZ.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BEST GOLF BALL RETRIEVERS
There you have it: Our picks for the best golf ball retrievers. This might not be quite as sexy as running through the top golf launch monitors, or rangefinders, or drivers… or pretty much anything else golf-related.
But a quality golf ball retriever has its place in the bag of a lot of regular golfers. And hopefully, we’ve armed you with the information you need for how to choose the best tool for your game.
Just remember: You won’t find every ball you search for. And when it’s time to reload, we’ve got you covered. Check out our Best Golf Balls of 2023.
WANT MORE BEST-OF GOLF LISTS?
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- Best Golf Shoes – A word to the wise: If you’re going to hunt for golf balls near water hazards, get some shoes that don’t leak.
- Best Golf Bags – From functional to stylish, there’s something for everyone on this list.