This teen’s creation makes ball retrieval safer during Covid-19 pandemic

Ethan Wittman and his father created this to discourage people from using their hands to retrieve balls from the hole.


Despite its creation sometime in the 15th century in Scotland, the game of golf has never ceased to be continually innovated and reimagined. The latest invention comes from the brain of a 15-year-old in Mount Horeb, Wis.

Ethan Wittman, a member of Norsk Golf Club, has devised a product that makes ball retrieval safer during the Covid-19 pandemic. His product, “Holey Ballz,” are hole covers specially designed in the 3D Printer Wittman received for Christmas.

an example of the Putts-Up device on a flagstick
This new tool makes putting an easier and safer task during COVID-19
By: Jackson Wald

Wittman credits the idea for this creation to the lack of efficacy in the previous hole covers his club was using.

“I realized that they didn’t have anything in [the holes], then they had the pool noodles in,” he told “They kept blowing out of the cup, and when it rained it would just float out.”

There are two versions of Wittman’s creation: the Hole Cover and the Shallow Cup. The Hole Cover is domed and completely prevents the ball from entering the hole. He then created the Shallow Cup, which partially allows the ball to drop into the hole, but is still easily retrievable. Wittman notes it took him around a week to devise the idea, but less than six hours to create.

According to his website, there is also a charitable element to Wittman’s project. A large portion of the proceeds will be donated to Feeding America, a non-profit organization of over 200 food banks across the country. For more information on the produce, click here.

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