These are certainly strange and scary times we’re livin’ in. Now more than ever, people are looking to higher powers to help make sense of it all and, in many cases, help them get through the day. I’m not talking about religion, although I suppose psalms and prayers are warranted. But I was thinking more along the lines of spiritual assistance — that whole chi-centering, Zen-focusing, find your mind’s eye sorta thing.

Athletes have relied on metaphysical support to achieve goals and unlock their inner “game faces” for as long as sports have been played competitively. And golfers, playing what has often been described as the most mental game of all — a sport ripe with self-doubt and inner turmoil — need all the transcendental help they can get. For some, finding their “center” to achieve that perfect mind/body balance and the physical/mental harmony that comes with it is as easy as reciting a mantra, imagining a specific object/place/event (can you say swing thought?), or clearing your mind so utterly and completely that it’s akin to a pitch-black void. But for others, some sort of extraneous aid is required to help them along. And that’s where a spirit animal comes in.

Before you parse that statement and interpret beyond my written words, please understand that I by no means am suggesting that an actual eating-breathing-pooping fur/scale/feather-covered creature — one that’s either under your direct control or in your immediate vicinity — is required to harness any so-called ethereal excellence. However, if you’re a nonbeliever, or just one of those who needs a little extra attention when it comes to visualization and embracing incorporeal consonance (don’t mind me, just keep reading), being able to associate the desired mindset with the attributes and actions of a specific creature (real or imaginary) can help you get over the hump that many nonbelievers and/or visualization-impaired ever fail to clear. So light a candle, chant it like you stole it, and prepare to accept and embrace the spirit animal that’s tailored specifically to your golf game.

Big Hitter = Silverback Gorilla

If your golf game revolves around the long ball not just because you’re a helluva driver but because you live for those moments when you can pull the big dog outta your bag, then the SILVERBACK GORILLA is, without question, your spirit animal. 

Not only does the gorilla have power for days, and his grunts will quite literally scare the shit out of anyone who opposes him, but the silverback has become wise enough over time to know when “announcing his presence with authority” is the right move to quell any future rebellions. So even if that first hole would be better suited to a 3-wood or low iron, screw it! Take hold of your driver, grip it and rip it, then toss the club, beat your chest, snarl and grunt at your playing partners, and fully embrace your hairy-chested, knuckle-dragging spiritual self.

Short Game Superstar = Tortoise

So what if your tee game isn’t anything to celebrate. If you’ve got Phil-like qualities when you get inside wedge range (did I really need to specify Mickelson?), and can consistently throw darts at the pin, the distance you lose at the onset will more than be made up for with the quality of your finishing shots. 

If that sounds like you, the TORTOISE is most assuredly your spirit animal. Bugs Bunny thought he was a badass with his Ferrari-like start, but each and every time, the tortoise (“Fred A-Very” for you cartoon history buffs) beat that wascally wabbit to the finish line. Tortoises are slow and steady by nature. Yes, they’re a little plodding (OK, a lot), but they always come through.

Bunker Buster = Ant Lion 

Most golfers are afraid of sand traps. They do their best to avoid bunkers like the plague. Not just because of the additional strokes, one tends to add to their scorecard, but because bunkers have a tendency to embarrass and belittle golfers of all handicaps, from the hacks to the sticks. But there is that rare breed of duffer for whom bunkers pose no threat. They hit their ball in, they laugh and shrug their shoulders, make a perfect swing, and the ball responds by going EXACTLY where they intended. 

If this is you, an ANT LION is your spirit animal. Don’t let their visual grotesqueness turn you away. Ant lions make their homes in the sand, and anything else that falls in usually becomes their prey. The sand is their entire world; when a single grain moves, they know exactly where it’s going to end up and have calculated accordingly to use it to their advantage.

Putting Machine = Dung Beetle

Rolling … rolling … rolling … No, that’s not the opening to a Limp Bizkit song (at least, that’s not the context I’m implying). You have nerves of steel — nothing fazes you. You can tune out the world and focus on one thing, and one thing only: the cup. Your ability to putt, on any surface, in any condition, is what separates you from the other duffers. Because you know, no matter what the situation, you’re always capable of making your flat stick sing. So for all the serious putters out there, there’s a critter that embodies your very existence. 

Introducing the DUNG BEETLE. Sure, they feed on feces but show me a golfer who wouldn’t put up with a little shit to be a master of the greens. So embrace your inner dung beetle and unlock that short stick magic.

Nature Lover = Squirrel 

You suck at golf. Hell, whatever it is you’re doing with clubs and balls cannot really even be called golf. But that “nice walk spoiled” by those frequent interruptions to advance a ball ever-so-slowly around a golf course isn’t being spoiled at all. You play for the shits ‘n giggles and be out and about amid nature. To have an excuse to wear fashion-senseless clothes and hang out with your pals. And to commiserate in the 19th hole when the round is over. Whatever it is you’re marking down on the scorecard is irrelevant. 

So if that’s your M.O., then a SQUIRREL is most assuredly your altered four-legged state. Happy-go-lucky and more than a little content to be doing anything that doesn’t resemble work, if there were a more perfect creature to describe your spirit animal, sadly, it went extinct long ago.

Need more Rocke Files in your life? 

Adam Rocke

Adam has dived for pirate treasure in the Caribbean, hunted for poachers in Africa, played poker with cartel kingpins in Juarez, scouted for UFOs in the Sonora Desert, raced in the Baja 1000 and the original Gumball Rally, swam with great white sharks sans cage, jumped out of planes sans parachute, and taken part in Sasquatch safaris, Chupacabra expeditions and many other “crypto-quests” around the world. Or so he says.