When most golfers hit a ball into the middle of a water trap, they probably just assume that the ball is destined to remain underwater for all eternity. Various enterprising individuals, however, regularly ply the depths of such ponds and lakes to retrieve those lost balls, for resale to golfers. While some of these entrepreneurs reach out into the water as far as they can with rake-like contraptions, most of them don scuba gear and go treasure-hunting. A new invention, the Golf Ball Wrangler, can now be added to their arsenal - and it has advantages over both rakes and diving.
The Wrangler was designed by Sacramento engineers/golf-ball-retrievers Andrew Gable and Dylan Fuller, along with a third partner. It consists of a series of reinforced fiberglass mesh discs that are mounted on a carbon steel axle, along with weights at either end. Using a polypropylene rope, users pull it across the bottom of water traps. It rolls through the sand/mud, not unlike a farmer's discer, collecting balls between its discs as it goes. Users just pluck out the golf balls at the end of each drag, then put it in again.
Presumably the device would work best if it were placed in the water at one side of a water trap, then the user walked around with its rope in hand, and pulled it from the other side. Two users might have an easier job of it, with each one throwing the rope across to the other after each pull.
A diver could certainly do a more thorough job, although not everyone knows how to scuba dive, or has the equipment. More importantly, golf course water traps are notorious for being polluted with fertilizer and herbicide runoff from the greens, and pose a health hazard to anyone who regularly spends much time immersed in them.
The Golf Ball Wrangler is currently available to U.S. customers only, for US$119.99 plus $49.99 shipping. Below is a video of the device in use. While it appears that pond weeds might potentially be an issue, the Wrangler certainly seems to do a decent job at grabbing golf balls.