Every year, 25 million golfers in the United States combine to lose an estimated 300 million golf balls. If only they knew about these nifty ways to locate what they've launched into the water, trees and weeds.
GOLF BALL FINDER APP
Ninety-nine cents is all it costs to download, a modest investment for a handy-dandy app designed to do precisely what its name suggests. It performs its function by laying a blue filter over the lens of your iPhone camera, eliminating light of a distracting wavelength to provide a clear view. Although the app works nicely when you're hunting on dry land, it won't do you much good if your ball plunks in the water; iPhones, after all, aren't meant to get wet. .99 cents.
OAKLEY PRIZM SUNGLASSES
One way to prevent losing a ball is to never let it out of your sight. Of the many fine sunglasses on the market, it's hard to beat the lenses on Oakley's Prizm line, which filter light precisely, creating a sharp contrast that helps you track your shot in flight as well as locate it any errant landing place. $153
CALLAWAY 15th CLUB BALL RETRIEVER
Carrying a ball-retriever carries a stigma. But this particular design shields you from scorn by coming with its own head-cover, so it looks like just another club in your bag. When you pull it out, of course, people will notice. And what they'll see is a 15-foot telescoping gizmo with an easy-to-grip ergonomic handle, a lightweight but sturdy aluminum shaft; and a stainless steel scoop that collects balls in an effortless swoop. $39.99
HIGH-VISIBILITY GOLF BALLS
No, you are not having an acid flashback. You are playing a neon-tinted golf ball, one of any number on the market, such the Volvik Vivid, the Srixon Z Star or the Chomax M1X. Name the psychedelic color: hot pink, canary yellow, sky blue, iridescent green. From a distance they could almost pass as Christmas ornaments, which makes them easy to find under a tree.
GOLF-BALL TRACKING HOUNDS
"That dog will hunt . . .golf balls.” But only if you train it. It's not so complicated. All you need is patience, kibble treats and a well-mannered canine that you can trust enough to let roam free. Wagwalking.com is one of many websites that teach you how to teach your dog to carry out this service. If your pet turns out to be a highly skilled retriever, even balls hit in the water aren't out of reach.
MICRO-CHIP EMBEDDED BALLS
Yeah, we know. You were promised a jet-pack that you still have not received, so you aren't holding your breath for micro-chip embedded golf balls. But really, they're coming. Or so claims OnCore golf, which plans to release its Genius Ball early this fall. True to billing, it is meant to be a smarter version of a golf ball, with a chip inside it that not only tracks your data but also comes to your assistance when you lose it with GPS-location technology. The retail price is still TBD. encoregolf.com