New device harvests submerged golf balls from shore
The Golf Ball Wrangler is a device that lets entrepreneurs harvest golf balls from the bottom of water traps (Photo: Andrew Gable/Dylan Fuller)
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.
About the Author
An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.
All articles by Ben Coxworth
$170 for this? It\'s just a bunch of fiberglass cutting wheels, two weight plates, allthread, spacers and chains. You can make your own for about $30.
no, i just tried to make it like you said. that didn\'t work... these guys are using something else in there videos.. they are pulling out like 25 balls per pull. thats crazy, im gonna go buy one myself
Gadgeteer be nice they had an interesting idea and would like to make money, good for them. If I were them I wouldn\'t tell anyone about it and just make them and just sell the golf balls.
If yours didn't work, it's because you didn't make it right. The fiberglass discs have to be fixed to the allthread rod, sandwiched between two nuts. They can't be allowed to spin free. And they have to be spaced just slightly less than the size of the balls. The entire assembly spins in the U-bolts on the ends.
I purchased one of these a month ago for $150 on E-bay. What a waste of money. The thing was a homemade nightmare. It is nothing more than some fiberglass reinforced saw blades, a long piece of redi-bolt and some nuts and washers. Some of the spaces were off so the apparatus would not hold a ball. Of the 10 spaces, only 7 would actually hold balls. Mine came without the weights and chain. Yes, you can make this yourself for around $35. I took mine out to a par 3 pond that had not been drug in 3 years. Should be a golf ball gold mine. After an hour of pulling this thing back and forth across we only had 30 balls. I complained to the seller of this but to no avail. Luckily I was able to file a protest with E-bay and will get my money back plus shipping. Don't waste your time buying this.
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