More and more golfer use a golf ball finder. No one's perfect. Even pros lose balls occasionally, and many amateurs lose them frequently.
Losing a golf ball isn't a fun experience. For one thing, it takes time and effort to trudge around looking for it. Even if you find it, the rhythm of your game is interrupted. And if you don't, you have to take a stroke and distance penalty. That means you're penalized a stroke and then must hit another ball from a spot as close as possible to the location from which you hit the ball you can't find. Stroke and distance is a hefty penalty, and losing a ball can ruin an otherwise good round.
But stroke and distance isn't the only downside of losing a ball. You've also lost the value of the ball itself. I'm sure you all realize that even the cheapest golf balls aren't really cheap, so losing one or two a round can get expensive.
No golfer wants to take a penalty or spend money unnecessarily. That's why so many golfers buy a golf ball finder. By helping you find your errant balls, a golf ball finder can help you avoid penalty strokes and save you money at the same time.
Start your search by deciding on your budget and the type of device you prefer. Your options include expensive, high-tech devices as well as tools that are much cheaper. Here are three examples in different price ranges.
The Ballfinder Scout (MSRP $199.95; available online for around $125)
This might seem like a lot of money to spend, but maybe it's not when you think about it. If you play expensive balls (Titleist Pro V1s, for example), the Ballfinder Scout will pay for itself after finding fewer than three dozen. Do the math - it won't take long if you find a couple every round.
The Ballfinder Scout is a handheld electronic device that uses a digital imaging system. I haven't tried one, but I've read that it can find golf balls up to 35 feet away in just a few seconds as long as at least 3 dimples are visible. The ball does need to be white, however. For what it's worth, Sir Nick Faldo endorses this particular golf ball finder.
Golf Ball Finder Glasses (prices vary with brand, but $20 to $30 online)
These glasses take a completely different approach than the much more expensive Ballfinder Scout. Resembling sunglasses, their special lenses filter the light in order to make a white ball stand out against the grass and foliage that's surrounding it. One of my friends has a pair of these. They fit right over my prescription glasses, and they make finding lost balls much easier because the ball almost glows. You can buy these on amazon.com and a number of other online shops for $20 to $30, depending on the brand.
Prazza Golf Ball Finder ($299.95; comes with 2 specially-designed balls)
If you want to go whole-hog, consider the Prazza. Its main drawback is its $300 price - along with the fact that it requires specially-designed balls that will run you $39.95 for a sleeve of 3. It also cannot be used in tournament golf or during any round that is used to calculate your handicap.
I haven't tried this one, but Prazza says it can find a connected Prazza ball up to 100 meters away within seconds, even if it's hidden in deep rough or a thicket of trees. It can even find your ball if it's sitting in less than 8 inches of water or snow.
Prazza balls emit a radio signal that you "pair" to the handset before beginning your round. When you lose a ball, the handset's screen guides you to your ball by using beeps and a graphic display. As long as you're within 100 meters (depending on the weather and local environmental conditions), it's virtually impossible to lose your ball when you're using the Prazza.
The company claims the balls you must use with the Prazza golf ball finder are high quality distance balls that can also give you excellent spin control. If you have the bucks and you don't mind playing their ball, the Prazza might be a great golf ball finder. If not, you have less expensive options.