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From Callaway to Prowithlin: The 7 best golf ball retrievers in 2024

As in life, in golf not everything goes to plan. A day of fairways and greens is not a given, even if you’re using one of the best golf GPS devices to plan your way around traps. For all those times your ball ends up under a thorny bush, in the water, or anywhere else off the beaten path, you’re going to need a golf ball retriever if you don’t want to go through a bucket of balls faster than the trainees on the driving range.

But what should you get? Golf ball retrievers are, in terms of appearance, what we call rather samey in the product evaluation world. A stick with a loop or grabber on the end. And, unlike other samey-looking objects like bottles of cologne, there is no style, flavor, or presence to a golf ball retriever to judge by. These are purely functional objects and it makes them hard to evaluate by the eye alone. Much to just about anyone’s displeasure, golf ball retrievers are about materials science and strong engineering. Words and phrases like extension length, durability, tensile strength, weight, and cost effectiveness all begin to rattle in the mind. Here, we present the best golf ball retriever — golf ball retrievers used and enjoyed by golfers like you — and find their usability, strengths, and where they fall short.

The best golf ball retrievers of 2024

  • Buy the for a premium product at an affordable price.
  • Buy the if you’re mostly concerned about water and wetness.
  • Buy the for an excellent premium choice.
  • Buy the for a golf ball retriever with some versatility.
  • Buy the for a golf ball retriever that works easily and secures balls well.
  • Buy the for an inexpensive lightweight model that will quickly pay for itself.
  • Buy the for a great putter-end choice on a budget.

Prowithlin Unbreakable Head Golf Ball Retriever

Best for most

The Prowithlin Unbreakable Head Golf Ball Retriever with multiple colors shown.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Pros Cons
Excellent rubber grip No back
Strong “unbreakable” head of reinforced PVC
Great for water, mud, and other situations

The Prowithlin Unbreakable Golf Ball Retriever is a excellent choice for a golf ball retriever with longevity and staying power. Starting from the grip at your hand to the ball grabber, everything is made with materials that feel premium despite an affordable price. The handle grip is made of contoured non-slip rubber that will stay firmly placed in your hands even if they’re wet from sweat or picking up other balls out of the water. Where the unshaking stainless steel shaft touches ends and the ball grabber begins is a strong head that locks the retriever into place and won’t snap easily when snagged.

The ball retriever itself is a sort of rubber sleeve that slides around the ball, grasping it, and letting you pull the hole thing out of the water. It makes a snug fit, so there is no backside like you might expect on a scooping ball retriever. This might seem awkward at first, but also allows for more direct contact with the ball.

You also have quite a bit of options in what you get here. There are multiple colors to choose from as well as lengths. The longer version, at 12 foot long, can be retracted to 19 inches and the shorter 9 foot version can get as small as one foot, making it easy to carry in any bag. Both versions of the Prowithlin Unbreakable Head Golf Ball Retriever weigh under one pound.

Key Specifications
Max length 9 and 12 foot options exist
Weight <1 pound
Retrieval style Rubber loop grip

Callaway Golf Ball Retriever For Water

Best for water

The Callaway Golf Ball Retriever for Water in action.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Pros Cons
Doesn’t bend even at 15 feet extension Big even when retracted
Head cover keeps other tools clean

If you don’t mind venturing into the mud or sliding a wedge under the bushes to retrieve a ball in those situations, but care about getting those water-logged balls back, try the Callaway Golf Ball Retriever for Water. Though you can, of course, use it for any situation, it is specifically designed to handle water traps with ease. And, to top it off, it has a dual-zip headcover that can keep you and your equipment somewhat protected from the dirty pond water the retrieval head will inevitably be exposed to.

Size and length are important for a golf ball retriever and that’s no different here. With 9 foot and 15 foot versions both available, you’ll be able to get back some far out balls. Even at a full extended 15 foot, the Callaway Golf Ball Retriever for Water is designed such that it will not wiggle and bend. As a sacrifice for this, however, you’ll have to deal with a bulkier model. Even when retracted, this golf ball retriever will be several feet long. If you have a quality golf bag and a bit of spare room, however, it won’t be noticeable. And, due to the head cover, you can keep this ball retriever right alongside the clubs without worrying about them getting too dirty.

Key Specifications
Max length 15 feet
Weight 1 pound
Retrieval style Clamp

Gotcha Jawz

Best premium

The Jawz Gotcha premium golf ball retriever.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Pros Cons
Premium construction Expensive
No moving parts on head

The Gotcha Jawz golf ball retriever has uses a premium construction and high quality materials to give you a stylist golf ball retriever for your next day of golfing. It uses a golf ball retrieval loop with no moving parts and a ribbed rubber interior ring for longevity. The shaft is made of stainless steel and should be around for the long term. Meanwhile, the hand grip has a gentle contour and gorgeous appearance.

While no golf ball retriever that works can truly be called “expensive” as they pay for themselves over time, this one is getting there. The super long 18 foot version of this is by far the priciest of the best golf ball retrievers we’ve looked at. If you’re just looking to pull a few balls back here and there, this might be a pass, but if you want something that can — at least with the handle out — pass for another club in the bag, it might be worth a look.

Key Specifications
Max length Options exist up to 18 foot
Weight Over 1/2 pound
Retrieval style Loop

Prowithlin Golf Ball Scooper and Grabber

Good for versatility

The Prowithlin Golf Ball Scooper and grabber.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Pros Cons
Works as both a scooper and a grabber claw Grabber can be difficult to use
Locking scoop design for low frustration

This Prowithlin Golf Ball Retriever comes with two attachments and a lot of versatility for the user. It’s construction is solid but lightweight and you should find no wiggling along the shaft as you retrieve balls. There are two versions available, one of six feet and the other of nine, with the nine foot version retracting down to 1.3 feet and weighing a mere half pound.

The main attachment for the Prowithlin Golf Ball Scooper and Grabber is the scooper. It can be used in wet or dry conditions and works differently than you would imagine just from a quick look. The key is in the clip (faintly visible in the image above) on the side of the scoop basket nearest the handle. It allows you to scoop the ball from above. When you’ve securely got the scooper over the ball and push down onto it, the ball pops securely into the basket. When you pull the handle back to you, you can then retrieve it easily. This allows for much easier retrieval than you might imagine, and requires no fiddling to maneuver the scoop through mud or whatnot to get under the ball.

Clearly, the Prowithlin Golf Ball Scooper and Grabber comes with a grabber as well. It is somewhat less impressive as the “suction” power of the three prongs can be iffy, especially when wet. As the scooper attachment can be used in both wet and dry conditions, however, we consider the grabber as a nice bonus only, and something that does not subtract from the overall joy of using this golf ball retriever.

Key Specifications
Max length 6 or 9 foot options exist
Weight 0.5 pounds
Retrieval style Scoop and grab

Champkey Auto-locking Golf Ball Retriever

Best auto-locking

A close up view of the auto-locking mechanism of the Champkey Auto-Locking Golf Ball Retriever.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Pros Cons
Auto-locks around the ball No contoured grip
Very easy to use
Multiple lengths available

The Champkey Auto-Locking Golf Ball Retriever has a very complex look. It can even be intimidating at first glance, but all of the difficult parts are automatic. In other words, as you slide the ball retrieval head over the ball, it is just locks over the ball with little effort from your side.

We really like the differing lengths available. They all, also, retract down to reasonable sizes, with the longest (14.5 feet long) reducing to 1.45 feet and the shortest (6 feet long) reducing to 1.27 feet in length. Basically, no matter what length you buy, you’re getting roughly the same retracted body. Therefore, your purchase can come down to whether or not you’re willing to pay a few dollars more for extra max length.

There is a very limited amount of things to not like about this golf ball retriever. We actually really like the rubber and polyurethane grip, which has “dots” of texture for extra grip. It could, however, be contoured to fit the fingers and hand that will be using it, in an ideal world.

Key Specifications
Max length 6, 9, 12, and 14.5 foot options available
Weight ~1 pound or less
Retrieval style Auto-lock

Callaway Pocket Ball Retriever

Best budget

A side view of the simple Callaway Pocket Ball Retriever.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Pros Cons
Shrinks to 18 inches in bag Very simple model
Super lightweight
Pays for self after about 7 or 8 uses

You don’t always need something complex or fancy to make ends meet when it comes to ball retrievers. The Callaway Pocket Ball Retriever is a tiny ball retriever that pops down to just 18 inches and weighs a mere half pound, making it an afterthought to toss in your bag. At 6.5 feet when max extended, it isn’t terribly long, but can pick up a ball in a pinch. The good news is that it runs for about $10 MSRP, meaning you can make your money back quickly on the golf balls of today.

This is a product where not overthinking it is worth your time. If you’re curious about golf ball retrievers but aren’t too keen on buying the more expensive models, throw this one in your cart and see how it works for you. Considering a golf ball of $1.25, you’d only need to successfully use this ball retriever 8 times to break even and if you don’t make it that far or feel too awkward to try using it, then no harm no foul it was just a few dollars lost.

Key Specifications
Max length 6.5 feet
Weight 0.5 pounds
Retrieval style Scoop

IZZO Golf Ball Grabber for End of Putter

Best putter end retriever

A golf ball in the Izzo Golf Ball Grabber.
Pros Cons
Small profile Can make putter dirty
Incredibly affordable
Convenient usage

On the back of most golf clubs — including putters — there should be an open hole to screw something into the top of the handle. In today’s world, this might be a great place to attach a digital swing analyzer that can help you on your virtual golf game or training analytics. In this case, however, you can pop Izzo’s grabber on the end and save your ball. And, since you know that your clubs have good stability, you know this grabber will, too.

Though the Izzo grabber is low cost — you supply the “stick” portion of the retriever, after all — whether or not it will be a good product for you in the long run depends on the quality of your putter. If your putter is inexpensive or has a grip that is resistant to liquid damage, this will likely do much better for you than in other cases. In any event, remember that if you go a bit too deep into the water or mud, your putter grip will get dirty. Still, as a small device with an extremely low price, the Izzo putter-end golf ball retriever will quickly pay for itself if you can keep your putter from taking damage.

Key Specifications
Max length Putter length
Weight <.1 lbs
Retrieval style Grabber

How we chose these golf ball retrievers

Golf ball retrievers are fairly simple devices, but there are some things you need to look out for. These considerations came up again and again as we searched through and found the very best golf ball retrievers.

Length considerations

It makes sense that length is king when it comes to golf ball retrievers. The longer the retriever, the more balls that you can fish out of the water (or sand, or underneath a bush, etc.). Since the shafts of the best golf ball retrievers tend to be made of quality metal to reduce shaking and keep high sturdiness, the price tends to go up with longer golf ball retrievers, but not so much as to deter us from them.

So why not go all in on length?

The first issue you’ll find when trying to use a super long golf ball retriever is that they start to feel heavier. Your shoulder becomes the fulcrum for a lever made out of metal. And, a small movement of the wrist means big travel 15 feet from you. In other words, ultra lengths aren’t always better even during usage.

The next issue is that of retraction. Golf ball retrievers telescope out in a way similar to old radio antennas. When you’re done, you push them back and they get shorter. If you don’t keep your golf ball retriever in your golf bag — you might not want something that’s been rooting around in water and mud in your bag — then that retracted length might become an issue.

The bottom line: Longer golf ball retrievers are, generally speaking, better. They do, however, come with some potential drawbacks if you aren’t thinking.


The best golf ball retrievers are very sturdy, even at their extended lengths. It takes a bit of practice to line up a still golf ball retrieval head with your ball, especially at distance. If the shaft starts wiggling wildly, you’re going to be horribly out of luck. The golf ball retrievers picked above were selected, at least partially, for their ability to stay straight and sturdy even at distance.

Retrieval style

The retrieval style is the way your ball is grabbed by the retriever. Despite having a samey appearance, there is actually quite some diversity in the retrieval style if you examine things closely. Here are the three most common styles and what you might want to consider about each one:

  • Loops — Loops go around the ball and “hug” it firmly. Usually they have a rubber or rubber-like interior that is slightly more narrow than a golf ball but bouncy enough to allow it up and around the loop.
  • Scoops — Scoops are just what you’d think they would be, a sort of ladle for golf balls. Sometimes, you’ll have to maneuver a scoop to the underside of a golf ball to retrieve it, but the best golf ball retrievers of this style will usually have some sort of clamp and hold mechanism to keep the ball in the scoop once inside.
  • Grabbers — Grabbers use a three-pronged sort of “claw” that goes over the golf ball and holds it in place once pushed firmly inside. Oftentimes these are somewhat better in dry conditions.

Editors' Recommendations

John Alexander

John Alexander is a former ESL teacher, current writer and internet addict, and lacks the wisdom to know what the future holds. His writing has appeared in PopSci, HeadPhonesty, WIRED, and Digital Trends. When not working, he can be found playing board games, drinking too much tea, taking long walks, and attempting to read foreign language books.

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