Losing a disc is awful. The only thing worse than losing a disc is having to abandon a disc that you can see. Since the beginning of time (1976) disc golfers have tried to solve this problem, and that has lead to a variety of disc golf disc retrievers. Disc golf retrievers are not created equally, so this disc golf retriever guide will help you decide which disc golf retriever to use and what their strengths are.
Keep reading for a list of disc golf retrievers, how we rate each one, as well as links for more information on each disc retriever.
What is the best disc golf retriever?
The best disc golf disc retriever is the Kwik-Stik XLF by InZone. The Kwik-Stik XLF offers the best balance of reach, control, and grabbing ability. The Kwik-Stik is a pole style disc retriever with a 14 foot reach and has a rectangular shaped hook on the end.
There is a new disc golf retriever coming out soon that has the potential to be great. It is called the Champ Clamp and is a 10 foot pole with a clamp at the end that can be triggered to close by pulling a cord attached to the clamp. We have not had the chance to test this but will update once we have.
You may disagree with our recommended disc golf retriever, so here are a number of other good disc retrievers.
Disc Golf Retrievers
- Hooker Disc Retriever
- Kwik-Stik Mini and XLH
- Disc Gator
- Disc Grabber
- The Champ Clamp
- Disc Claw
- RexArm Disc Retriever
- Golden Retriever
- A long stick
What makes a good disc golf retriever?
There are a few things that make a disc retriver:
- Reach – length your retriever can reach
- Control – agility of your retriever
- Grip – how well your retriever grips the disc
- Portability – is it easy to bring with you?
- Reliability – will it get your disc back and stay together?
Here’s how we rate all of your disc golf retreiver options on a 0-5 scale.
*Disc Gator rated with the 11 foot tent pole
Types Of Disc Golf Retrievers
At this point, the majority of disc golf retrievers are pole style retrievers. The line and drag style retrievers had been the go-to style for a few years because of their portability and reach, but pole style retrievers are taking over with telescoping ability and enhanced hook mechanisms.
Disc Golf Hook Retrievers
Hook style disc retrievers are a type of pole style retriever that come in a wide variety from a basic hook that offers high control but low dependability, to wire mechanisms that slide around the disc.
The Hooker – The Hooker is an inexpenisve and very portable retriever. It only costs $12 and comes with just a hook and piece of velcro that will attach it to a stick. This is quite innovative and works great if the course has a lot of sticks. The hook fits nicely over the rim of disc at which point you can either drag the disc, or flip it over and carry it out. The velcro usually stays on tight, but you could risk it sliding off of a smooth stick and after about a year the velcro wears down. We recommend keeping one in your bag or your car as a low-cost backup.
Kwik-Stik Mini and XLH – The Kwik-Stik Mini and XLH are the same telescoping pole retriever except that the Mini extends 10 feet and the XLH extends 14 feet. Both feature a small hook at the end which is controllable and accurate, but can easily drop the disc if you don’t have a good angle on it.
Kwik-Stik XLF – This is our retriever of choice. The Kwik-Stik XLF is a telescoping pole style retriever that extends to 14 feet and utilizes a rectangular shaped metal trapper that can slide around a disc and also has a slight hook. This design is slim enough to slip through many tight areas and not snag on branches or brush as much as larger designs, and it holds the disc more reliably than most hook retrievers.
M-Retriever – The M-Retriever is a telescoping pole style retriever that reaches 14 feet when extended and collapses to 20 inches. This style is similar to the Kwik-Stik XLF but has a more open trapper at the end which is shapped to reliably grab a disc and pull it back to you. The disadvantage is the large size of the head which can make it difficult to navigate through tree branches or brush under water. One cool feature is it offers a camera mount which could be useful for recording shots from a high angle.
RexArm – Currently out of stock at most stores, the RexArm disc retriever is a 7 foot telescoping pole with a big hook on the end. This hook is more robust than the Kwik-Stick Mini or XL hook, but also requires more precision to get a hold of the disc.
DiscTreever – Despite the low ratings on the table, the DiscTreever is actually a great design, but it’s made for more than just a retriever. The DiscTreever is a telescoping pole with a two pronged hook that also features a broom head on the other end. This is a great tool when teepads may be covered in sand or snow and makes for a great multi-purpose tool for course owners to leave at each teepad.
Disc Golf Clamp Retrievers
Clamp style disc retrievers are pole style retreiver that offer superior grip and are more reliable after the disc has been grabbed. Clamp style retreivers are great for pulling your disc out of a tree or weeds. The primary disadvantage to a clamp disc retriever is that they require some action to close the clamp around the disc which may be difficult given the angle and distance from you.
Disc Gator – The Disc Gator offers superior grip by clamping down on a disc with spring loaded jaws. You can order just the gator head alone which has a threaded base to attach to a pole of your choice or you can purchase one with an 11 foot tent pole. The tent pole folds up for easy storage but may be a little more cumbersome than sliding a telescoping pole. The primary downside to the Disc Gator is that the clamp is triggered by a piece of metal between the jaws that must be pushed back by the disc. If you can’t get a good angle on the disc, or if the disc is in soft muck under water, it can actually push the disc into a worse position.
Disc Golf Grabber – The Disc Grabber is a 3D printed plastic clamp that can be attached to a pole with various attachments or can be attached to a stick with velcro or a zip tie. It is similar in style to the Gator but uses a rubber band for gripping pressure rather than a metal spring. It is smaller in size than the Disc Gator so it is a little easier to maneuver. The clamp is not as stong as the disc gator so you do not have to worry about any disc damage, but it is strong enough and shaped well so that the disc is still unlikely to come out.
Champ Clamp – The Champ Clamp offers a more reliable method of closing clamps around a disc by triggering the close using a pull cord. This should help in situations when you can only reach one edge of the disc or are going in at an odd angle. The reach is 10 feet which is a little shorter than some poles but still decent. As of October 2020, The Champ Clamp is in the Kickstarter phase.
Disc Golf Drag Style Retrievers
Drag style disc retrievers are disc trapping mechanisms (usually triangular shapped metal bars) that are attached to a long rope and thrown past the disc with the goal of catching the disc as they are dragged back toward you. These type of disc retrievers do not use a pole so they offer great portability and can often be thrown in directions a pole may have difficulty reaching. Distance is limited to the length of line so you could attach a very long rope for extra reach. However, they can be difficult to line up on a far away disc. You also run the risk of losing the retriever itself if your drag style retriever snags a log or branch and cannot shake loose. You can read our comparison between the Golden Retriever and Disc Claw here!
Disc Claw – In our opinion, the Disc Claw is the better of the two drag style options because it has a better chance of grabbing the disc. However, these type of retrieves in general are more difficult to use and often less reliable.
Golden Retriever – Manufactured by Dynamic Discs, the Golden Retriever was once the gold standard of disc golf retrievers. I’ve used it many times and it works decently when you have a good view of the disc and don’t have to navigate sticks and logs. Unfortunately, I’ve have a few unsuccessful attempts with the Golden Retriever where a pole style retriever would likely have saved my disc (in this case a First Run Reko that was claimed by the Grand River).
Now you have no excuse for not investing in some sort of disc retriever. Unless you enjoy losing discs, in which case that’s on you and you might want to check out our article on techniques for finding a lost disc golf disc.
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