For the love of the sport. A place for DG enthusiasts to share their thoughts.

Golden Retriever, Not Always a Man’s Best Friend

Posted by randomtiz


Golden Retriever
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.

retriever
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. =)

retrieverdog
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”?

-jt

5 Responses

  1. I have recently benefited from a friend’s Golden Retriever. I managed to ring a deep culvert in the middle of hole 8′s fairway at George Ward Park. My driver squirmed 10+ feet down a nasty drainage pipe. After locating it via flashlight, the Golden Retriever only took 3 swipes before I was reunited with my glorious driver.

    I would def keep one in the car but too big for the bag. Worth having…in certain cases.

    Jeremiah

    January 28, 2013 at 11:10 pm

  2. c4jones2

    I was seriously considering one of these but after your review and thinking about the ponds and lakes I play near, it probably won’t be of much help. Great write up, thanks!

    January 30, 2013 at 7:42 am

  3. I disagree with some of what is said in this article and I think it is a little misleading.

    The cons that were listed are extremely obvious facts that would apply to everything. For example, “The “Golden Retriever” works really when you can actually see your disc.” I feel like that is extremely obvious and I don’t think anyone is going to buy this expecting it to magically find your disc just by throwing it into the water. Picking up a disc with your hand also only “works really when you can actually see your disc.”

    Also the advice of “Make damn sure you have the other end of your line tied to your body or bag.” I feel like that is a tip that most of us already are aware of.

    I own a Golden Retriever, and I am extremely happy with it. It is smaller than a disc, so it can fit into almost any bag. Yes, the long throws into a pond full of debris and what not could get tricky, but there are so many other situations where it is useful. Now if it goes into a little stream or behind some poison ivy, I will never have to search around me for the perfect stick to use. I can simply go in my bag and grab it, making my day of throwing much more enjoyable and easier than it would be without it.

    It is very simple to use and you don’t even need that good of an aim. Just need to throw it on the other side of the disc and move you body after so you are pulling it back towards the disc.

    January 30, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    • Hey Matt, appreciate your feedback.

      Like I mentioned in the post, it all depends on the scenario and water conditions. Not only are murky ponds what we mostly have around here, they also love to swallow discs. Besides its intended use, I honestly thought I could use the retriever to “find” other lost discs by just throwing it blind into a deep pond and grabbing onto something. Maybe that was just me wishfully thinking, but I feel like others might have the same idea too to find discs. I was simply stating that that chance is slim-to-none with this retriever. Unless the sunken disc is visible, you can scratch trying to “find” other discs. That was my point.

      If you only have the 15-ft line attached, yes, you’d obviously tie that to your hand or bag because that is not a lot of line. But with a much longer 50-ft line, one might not be as inclined to think that they would use all 50-ft in a single throw. That retriever will fly far. I’ll admit, I’ve thrown the whole thing in several times at distances shorter than 50-ft. I either had it the end under my footer or didn’t tie it to anything because I didn’t think it would reach the end of the line. If I throw in the water period, I’m pretty ticked at the situation anyway–tying it to something is the last thing that crosses my mind.

      I’m glad you enjoy your retriever as much as it sounds like. I didn’t say it was a terrible product. The concept is great. I’m just pointing out it is not as grand as it’s built up to be. Different strokes for different folks. Thanks for reading the blog!

      -jt

      January 30, 2013 at 4:41 pm

  4. Mark

    I have friends that use the golden retriever successfully in Colorado. One friend found more than 30 discs from a pond on the first day of use.

    March 22, 2014 at 12:57 pm

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