Gear & EquipmentAugust 1, 2013

A 19-inch golf ball retriever (OK, it extends to 9 feet)

By John Strege

Many years ago, I played a round of golf at the upscale Vintage Club in Indian Wells, Calif., with member Jack Hennessy, scion of the Hennessy cognac family and Bob Hope's friend and neighbor in Toluca Lake, Calif. I had no idea what his net worth was, though based on his name, the company he kept and the neighborhoods in which he lived and played I concluded it was substantial.

All that I remember of the round is that each time we encountered a water hazard, Hennessy, for whom money was not an object, would pull a telescopic ball retriever from his bag and scoop out submerged golf balls, some of which he would later use.

The point is that a ball retriever's utility is universal, or not only for those for whom money is an object. So on that note, here is latest offering in the category, the Pro-Lite Ball Retriever from Champ, a company better known for its spikes.

Champ Pro-Lite.jpg

The Pro-Lite weighs less than half a pound and is only 19 inches when closed, allowing it to fit in a golf bag pocket. But it extends to nine feet and is said to easily trap a ball and can retrieve one even from the cup.

"This is an extremely effective tool that embodies the quality control and spirit of innovation associated with all Champ products," Harris MacNeill, company president and CEO said in a news release. "We want to help players save money by ensuring they can quickly reclaim golf balls that would have otherwise been left behind."

The suggested retail price is $34.99, or the price of a dozen balls, give or take a few dollars, allowing it to pay for itself in a reasonably short period of time.

Jack Hennessy would have loved it.

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