Best golf ball retrievers of 2023: 5 ball-saving tools for every need and budget

Golf practice balls sit on a practice green around a yellow flagstick

Here's a look at the best golf-ball retrievers for 2023.


When your shots aren’t flying how you want or where they’re supposed to, you might take solace in searching for it armed with one of these trusty golf ball retrievers. There can be something almost gallant about pulling it from your bag and going to work along the banks of a pond or creek, plucking your lost balls from the water or mud. Fetching a ball from oblivion, and realizing you can, might even give you more confidence on the tee. It reminds you that all hope is not lost when facing a daunting corner of a pond on a lengthy drive.

Retrievers come in various sizes, and some can even attach to your putter to save you from having to bend over. Whether you’re in it for the hunt or to save a few bucks, here are some of the best golf ball retrievers to make the game more enjoyable. 

Top 5 ball retrievers

Staff favorite: Igotcha Jawz 14’ Ball Retriever
Best budget: Player Supreme 9′ Orange Ball Retriever
Best for your putter: Nickel Putter Ball Pick-Up
Best alternative: Callaway 15’ Golf Ball Retriever
Best super long: Search N’ Rescue Magic Gripper Max Hideaway 18’’ Ball Retriever 

How we chose the best ball retriever

We researched manufacturer specifications, including length, ease of use, and ball security. We also tested the sturdiness of the retrievers by extending their telescopic arms during a visit to the local golf superstore. Then, we combed through detailed product descriptions, ratings, and reviews to find the best ball retriever for each category.

Staff favorite: Igotcha Jawz 14’ Ball Retriever

Staff favorite: Igotcha Jawz 14’ Ball Retriever


— Folds to a compact size
— Strong ball security
— Feels stable when fully extended

— On the pricier end

The Igotcha is a great retriever because of its compact size that can fit in the side pocket of your golf bag. You’ll pay a touch more than cheaper alternatives but get more ball security and stability when the arm is extended. It’s important to note that no ball retriever with a telescopic arm will remain fully rigid when extended, but the Igotcha at 14 inches has minimal sag.

With its single-piece head design (with gripping teeth) and stainless steel construction, it feels more solid and is easier to use than other models. Just pop it over the top of the ball and press down to grab it.

Size: 17.5 in. compacted, 14 ft. extended (including player’s arm length) | Weight: 10 oz

Best budget: Player Supreme 9’ Orange Ball Retriever

Best budget: Player Supreme 9’ Orange Ball Retriever


— Affordable price
— Locking mechanism for shaft
— Durable

— Measures 43 in. when not extended
— Shorter than most retrievers when extended

The Player Supreme is a serviceable tool that’ll do what you want it to do, but it’ll also have to take up a slot with your golf clubs in your bag. Using a comfort-grip handle, simply place the head over the ball and scoop it away. The telescoping arm will lock into place and prevent it from contracting during use.

The orange color provides good visibility under murky water when you go fishing for that lost ball, and at 50% less than our top pick, you’ll save some money — though this one won’t feel as durable and stable as other models that use stainless steel and aluminum.

Size: 43 in. compacted, 9 ft. extended | Weight: Not listed

Best for your putter: Nickel Putter Ball Pick-Up

Best for your putter: Nickel Putter Ball Pick-Up


— Fits onto the end of putter grip
— 3-prong clasp for secure grip
— Made with polycarbonate synthetic material for durability

— Doesn’t fit well on round putter grips
— Can be hard to use
— Can break if not folded down

As we age in this lifelong game, our back and knees can take a toll bending down to peg the ball and retrieve it from the cup. The Nickel Putter Ball Pick-Up spares your joints from excessive wear and tear, allowing you to save energy and stamina for smacking drives and stroking putts.

Pop the retriever on the butt-end of your putter (but not a round putter grip) and extend its collapsable arms to pull the ball from the cup. When finished, make sure you put the arms back down, as they can break if you forget.

Size: 15 mm (H), 30 mm (L), 20 mm (W) | Weight: 0.4 oz

Best alternative: Callaway 15’ Golf Ball Retriever

Best alternative: Callaway 15’ Golf Ball Retriever


— Folds to 45 in.
— Easy to use
— Included headcover prevents damage to your clubs

— Doesn’t stow in a golf bag saddle
— Unreliable durability

The Callaway retriever is a secure method for fetching your lost ball. You simply place it over the ball, and the large square-ish ring will pull the ball into its trap. It’s great for finding balls in the woods, when shrubs or excessive tree limbs negate your path, as well as when the ball rests on the bottom of a creek bed.

Priced in between our Best Budget and Best Overall, the Callaway has an ergonomic handle making it easy to grip. It also has a cover that allows it to camouflage as another club in your bag, which protects your other clubs. That comes in handy since the retriever can’t be compacted to fit in the pocket of a golf bag. The telescopic arm is made of aluminum, giving it a lightweight feel, while the ball-grabbing mechanism is made of stainless steel.

Size: 45 in. compacted, 15 ft. extended | Weight: 16 oz

Best super long: Search N’ Rescue Magic Gripper Max Hideaway 18’

Best super long: Search N’ Rescue Magic Gripper Max Hideaway 18’


— Largest reach
— Few moving parts
— 18 in. when retracted

— Unwieldy when fully extended
— Pricey

Magic Gripper allows for two methods of retrieving a ball. You can scoop it up — helpful when in the water — and press down on the ball to pull it into its trap. Its head is made of anodized aluminum to prevent oxidation and corrosion, and the trap is made of plastic. No moving parts reduce any chance of breakage, and the telescoping arm allows it to be tucked away out of sight until it’s needed.

Size: 18 in. compacted, 14 ft. extended (18 ft. maximum reach) | Weight: 19 oz

Go fetch

Finding a golf tool that works for you is an incredibly subjective choice. Whether you’re a scratch golfer or just an average Joe, every golfer wants to ensure their gear and accessories are fit for the course. Decide what factors are most important to you and keep trying until you find “the one.” But if you’re not sure where to begin, you can’t go wrong with any of the golf ball retrievers on this list.

How to pick the right golf ball retriever for you

Take some time to think about your golf game. Is there a certain course you often play that gives you fits and gobbles up your balls? Do you find yourself buying new packs of golf balls before each round? Then maybe a retriever is a good option to give you peace of mind that a wayward shot won’t be lost forever. 

Sometimes the smallest bit of psychology makes you play with more confidence. If you know you can easily find a ball after it’s hit offline, then maybe you’ll hit fewer offline. Golf is a unique mind game that way. 


Golf ball retrievers vary greatly in price, but how much you’re willing to spend all comes down to personal preference. You can spend as little as $10 on a retriever or as much as $60. Keep in mind, though, that if you choose to spend more, it could save you from buying more balls or a replacement down the line. 

Ease of use

Many golf ball retrievers offer molded, ergonomic grips that make them easier to hold, especially when extended and the arms start to sag. If you live near a golf superstore, test each one out and notice how the weight changes in your hand at various lengths. You’ll also want to watch for how easily they extend, retract, and lock in place.

For retrievers that don’t lock in place, ensure they don’t collapse when searching for balls or hitting the ground. Many companies have excellent return policies, so feel free to order one and try it at home in the yard, too. 


Pick a ball retriever that you feel will last. Stainless steel and anodized aluminum will resist rusting and thus won’t have to be replaced as frequently. Ensure that the ball trap is made of high-quality plastic or nylon and can’t easily be cracked or damaged, rendering the retriever. This isn’t the item you want to replace often. 


How long should a golf ball retriever be?

Six feet should be the minimum length, and 14 feet is the ideal maximum. We’ve included an 18-foot one in our review for those who want to get those really hard-to-reach balls, but a 14-foot retriever provides the most stability.

Six feet is among the smallest retriever size sold and is a good workable solution for a quick grab from a tough spot you can’t reach. Longer sizes correspond to more difficult grabs and will be helpful for those who want to grab as many balls as possible to put in their cart or bag. 

What’s the longest golf ball grabber?

The longest golf ball retriever on our list has a reach of 18 feet. We wouldn’t recommend going any longer, as 18 feet is perfect for grabbing hard-to-reach balls without sacrificing too much on stability and control.

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Michael Croley is a freelance golf writer in Ohio. His features, reviews, and essays have appeared in Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, The Golfer’s Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, Esquire, and McKellar. He is the author of a short story collection, Any Other Place.