Today I’m reviewing the “Golden Retriever” by Disc Diver. I bought a “Golden Retriever” about two years ago after I started losing more and more discs to ponds and lakes on disc golf courses that I was frequenting at the time. Reality is, losing discs suck. Especially on repeated occasions, because plastic “ain’t” cheap. I had even switched to discs such as Innova Dragon’s that float, but their super light 150g weight severely affected my distance from the box.
After multiple attempts with sticks, fishing rods and the occasional “swim” for a disc, I got tired of trudging through algae-infested mud-ridden ponds retrieving my weary discs. I knew there had to be a better alternative to fish out discs without having to actually swim with them in hopes to find my sunken disc and not catch some disease…
Then I found Disc Diver’s “Golden Retriever” and what seemed to be a clever invention–a disc retriever for discs sunken in the water. I watched the video on their site and was immediately sold. (Currently ~$25-30 on several disc golf websites out there.) I had just lost two discs a week earlier, so I was ecstatic about getting this thing in the mail. Almost considered rush shipping because I wanted those discs back that bad. Seems like a handy tool to frolfers everywhere, right? I’ll let you be the judge of that.
First you might ask What exactly is the Golden Retriever or How does the Golden Retriever work?
According to their website, DiscDiver.com, it is a fold-able device that’s “designed to retrieve sunken golf discs from the bottom of water hazards. It only takes a few seconds and is exceptionally easy to operate. The Discdiver ‘Golden Retriever’ is small enough to fit in any disc bag or back pocket.”
- Simply tug on the Golden Retriever’s throw rope to unfold it.
- Then toss it beyond the golf disc and pull across to retrieve.
- As it skims across the bottom of the hazard, it will scoop and retain the disc.
Seems easy, right? The concept of it is, yes, a fact very easy. Actually successfully throwing it and retrieving the disc? Not so much. Now let me explain; and this is why I named this post the way I did.
The Disc Diver “Golden Retriever” only successfully works under very specific conditions. If you watch the video on their site and notice, you can clearly see the disc sunken in the bottom of a shallow creek. The “Golden Retriever” works really when you can actually see your disc. I don’t know about you guys, but the ponds and lakes around here are both murky and have muddy bottoms. You’re S.O.L. trying to use one of these things around here as you throw blind into the water. The “Golden Retriever’s” back bar frame is barely as wide as the disc itself. With that said, you must have the “Golden Retriever” lined up almost perfectly behind the disc as you drag it over it. Just think if you can’t even see the disc?! Now you understand.
The goal is to throw it so it lands behind your disc. Let it hit the bottom, then carefully drag it towards you as you pull on the supplied 15-30 ft. line (TIP: Make damn sure you have the other end of your line tied to your body or bag. I’ve thrown the whole thing—line and all—into a pond before and spent another 30 min trying to retrieve that too!). As the “Golden Retriever” approaches your disc, the lip of the frame should catch on the underside of the rim of your disc. The disc somewhat “locks” into place in the back of the frame. Don’t try to lift up on it or you might drop the disc, just keep pulling straight towards you.
But what I’m not sold on is how effective it is in a variety of scenarios. Yes, it works wonderfully in a clear body of water with a smooth ground bottom. I would simply suggest actually observing the different bodies of water around your local courses before considering one of these. Like I mentioned earlier, here in the Southeastern states—where I play most of my disc golf–ponds are very murky, have muddy bottoms that often covered with algae, slimy plant life and debris. And I’m going to be perfectly honest with you; If your local ponds have any characteristics like the aforementioned pond descriptions, I do not see this product being of any help to you. Check out this picture to the side, this is what I “retrieved” with one throw into a disc golf pond while playing in Mississippi. If the pond has any kind of grass/weeds like that, there’s no way you’re returning anything that you hoped you would be. If you’re into kelp or need weeds for your home aquarium, go for it. =)
Another thing, this really only works if the bottom of the pond/lake/river is near flat. If there’s debris, large rocks, or limbs then you might be in trouble. The bottom floor needs to be near flat in order for the retriever to “scoop” up the disc. It does have a slight learning curve with getting it to fall and line up with your disc though. Don’t get me wrong, the “Golden Retriever” does have several great features as well as being super compact and portable! Its lightweight design has a high-vis color paint that helps visibility in slightly murky water. The ones I’ve seen online now actually come with up to 50 ft of line. Just keep in mind, it’s all about lining the retriever up with the sunken disc and being able to actually see the disc in the water. If these two conditions apply to your sunken disc, then you have a high chance of being able to recover your lost disc!
Honestly I’ve retrieved more of my friend’s discs than any of mine. It does work to a degree. I finally feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth two years later. I take it with me every time I go out on the course just in case. But in most scenarios, this might not be your best friend when trouble arises.
Would love to hear anyone else’s stories and/or feedback if you own/or have ever used a Disc Diver “Golden Retriever”?