by Bill Benzon
Tiger Woods is only the most recent in a long line of fine black golfers. In saying that I refer to players other than the moderns such as Charles Sifford, Jim Thorpe, Jim Dent, Lee Elder, Calvin Peete, and Renee Powell. Truth be told, the tradition of sepia swing masters started in ancient Nubia, where the game was invented. In that company Woods would be no more than a middling player.
By today's standards Tiger is ferociously talented, though his game has lost a bit of its luster of late. But those Kushite drivers of ancient Nubia were giants the like of which haven't been seen in thousands of years.
Their stories, like so many stories, have been suppressed by the Europeans. Fortunately many of those stories have been collected by The Order of Mystic Jewels for the Propagation of Grace, Right Living, and Saturday Night through Historic Intervention by Any Means Necessary. The Jewels are dedicated to preserving the ancient stories and to intervening in history in ways variously clever and indirect. They are the chief source of that version of Afrocentric thinking known as Jivometric Drummology:
Jivometric Drummology: A philosophical system grounded in African and African-American musical practice. “Drummology” indicates that the governing logos is that of the drum, of rhythm, of hands and sticks coaxing sound from skin, of people joining together, each playing a simple rhythm, with the many simple rhythms melting into a single stream of infinite diversity. “Jivometric” characterizes the way language rolls off the tongue and tickles the ear; its meaning is secondary to its sound. Jivometrics is thus a principle of grace. A treatise may have drummological ideas, but if the language lacks grace, then the treatise is not jivometric — jiveturkey is all too often the appropriate term. In the most profound works of this school jivometrics and drummology are joined through agape.
The following story is based on information from the recently discovered papers of Cassius Photon Gaillard, aka Slim. He was a Mystic Jewel who had studied Jivometrics with the masters.
The Origin of Golf and the Lights in the Sky
Golf was invented by the ancient Nubians. Most of the details have been lost, but the general shape and thrust of the story has been preserved.
It began in the reign of Pharaoh Ramses Golfotep X of the 25th or Kushite Dynasty. One day Rams, as he was known to friends and family, was hanging out with some of his friends in the gazebo at his summer palace. As usual they were playing bid whist and sipping Mount Gay and Coke, with a twist of lemon. As so often happens they got to talkin' trash about their wives and girl friends. Rams talked about how he particularly liked going into a special glade with his wife Cleo and a boom box loaded with some righteous jams. The best time was early evening when things were cooling down and the sun lit the sky with orange fire. They'd meander down this long narrow opening among the palms and get to a secluded spot ringed with patches of sand. The ground was firm and the grass kept closely cropped so they could dance freely. Inevitably the dancing would lead to a little fooling around, and that little fooling around generally led to more and before you know it Cleo was baking Ramses' sweet potato in her oven. That was some fine sweet potato pie they'd cook up. Yes indeed.
So, Rams and his friends kept talking and drinking and talking and drinking and before you knew it they found themselves nose to the ground chasing a lemon around. It was a lot of fun and, wouldn't you know, a week later Mount Gay and whist once again placed them on the grass chasing lemons. And so it went week after week. In the course of about a year or so they'd managed to invent golf, or something much like it.
For the ancient game was a bit different from the modern one. In the first place, the course was layed out in three sets of nine holes, for a total of 27, rather than the modern 18. 27 is the 3rd power of 3, and thus brings the basic design into agreement with the ternary basis of the underlying rhythms in ancient Egyptian music. Further more, the holes were somewhat longer than those in the modern game. Par three holes typically varried between 200 and 250 meters while par fives were between 500 and 600 meters. Par for a single round was 108.
However, the most significant differences between the ancient and modern games involved the finely-tuned geometric judgment and kinematic finesse of greens play. The ancients mastered putting so quickly that the rules had to be changed to make putting even more difficult. The rules committee, officially called the Jive Adjudicators and Soul Satisficers (JASS), required that all putts be executed while the player is standing on only one leg, with alternation from one leg to the other being required from one green to the next. When that became too easy the JASSers decided that all putts less than a meter long were to be executed from a headstand position. Further, at least half the putts had to be done single-handed, though the player was free to choose which hand to use. The concentration and balance thus required taxed the ability of even those magnificient athletes. In time, as knowledge of the game made its way to India, meadering from village to village, town to town, and city to city, the system of putting postures became separated from golf itself and evolved into the spiritual practice of Hatha Yoga. But that's another story, to be told at another time, in another place.
Clearly this new game required new gardens expressly designed to meet its demands in a surprising but felicitous way. And so Rams issued a royal decree and it was built: the Imperial Xanadu Golforama. It had sparkling brooks and fragrant cedars among the ancient forests. The clubhouse was one of the wonders of the ancient world. The icy wine cellars had rare vintages from all over and the domed ballroom featured the finest music for your dancing pleasure: Jelly Roll Liszt and his Red Hot Peppers, Ammon Bechet and the Swinging Scarabs, the Nomo Percussion Ensemble, featuring Zutty Pozo Addy, Beyonce James and her Swing Sisters Seven, Rudy Zerafino's Copascetic Syncopators, Duke Prez Earl and HonoriffX, the Dawg Cheops Orchestra, Ziggy ben Jammin and The Great Sphinx Riddle Masters, and, greatest of all, the Mighty Royal Roof Raisers, led by Daniel Louis Satchotep II, also known as King Toot.
And toot he did. When he was on his form couldn't nobody keep from dancing and dancing. On a bad night he was better than most, popping those high C's like they were birds lined up on a telephone wire. But on a good night, the Tootman was the baaadest horn player in the world, and then some! He could bring sight to the deaf, sound to the blind, make a lame man talk, and inspire the dumb to walk. He was mean!
But he couldn't bring light to the night. And that was a problem. You see, in those ancient days there weren't any stars or planets. Not even the moon. Just the sun and the earth. So, it was real dark at night, darker than you can possibly imagine. Of course, they had torches and whale oil lanterns and Zippo lighters. They could see enough to get around. But it was a drag and so unfriendly. Now that people were always out late dancing it got real oppresive coming home under that infinitely dark sky.
Rams thought about it every day for years and finally he had an idea. He got his clubs and several buckets of balls and went to the top of the highest pyramid. Once there he started hitting the balls as hard and far as he possibly could. 500 meters, 550, 563, he kept hitting them farther and farther. After three weeks he was approaching 600 meters. But ten weeks after that he wasn't hitting them any farther. He was up against it. Somehow he had to take his game to the next level.
Then he had a jolt of jivometric genius. He got King Toot's latest jam, Tight Like This, popped it in the Grand High Imperial Boom Box, and once more mounted the Big One. He teed up a Simulacrum II, took out his beloved No. 3 Jivometric Umoja Slammer and turned on the box. Slowly he started moving to the music, harmonizing his movement, summoning the Inner Spirit, the Ka force, easing into a righteous groove. As the music started coming up on Toot's first solo chorus Rams laid his eye out there on the ball, went into a backswing and as Toots hit his first note, Rams connected with the ball and knocked it a full kilometer. Solid.
Of course, since he started so high in the air, he had an advantage over contemporary golfers. Yet, a kilometer on the fly is pretty impressive anytime anywhere anyhow. The man was cooking! Within two hours he was up to ten kilometers. Breakthrough!
The next day he decided live music would be even more effective. He brought King Toot and the cats with him and they laid down some serious riffs. They started with a hot version of Struttin' with Some Barbecue and Rams swung into some serious slamming. By the end of the day he had knocked one all the way to the headwaters of the Nile. It flew so fast you could see a heat trail shimmering in the air. About ten minutes later they heard it land, tchhcck! in a bird's nest. Over the next few weeks that nest floated north into the Mediterranean and became the island of Crete. The day after that King Toot's Gully Low Blues inspired Rams to loft five into North America where their impact craters became the Great Lakes.
On the next day Golfotep achieved orbit for the first time. Toot rounded 3rd base heading into the final chorus of Cornet Chop Suey and Whrzhaap! “To the moon Alice! To the moon!” There it was, for the first time, the moon. One groovin' swing by a man, one giant step for mankind. “Yo! Toot my man, how's ‘bout a few hits of Muggles?” “You got it Rams.” Thuuunnk! with the No. 3 Slammer and Mars bestrode the heavens. A couple of choruses into Hotter Than That and Wuzzschkk! Venus was up there making bed-time eyes to the world. Then Mercury, Saturn, & its moons, Jupiter, & its moons, Neptune, Uranus, Pluto, & another handfull of moons scattered here and about. Of course, those aren't the real names. The real names have been lost, erased from history by Nineteenth Century European Running Dog Jackal Pig Facist Racially-Deluded Honkey Imperialist White-Face Round-Eyed Devils.
That night there was light in the sky for the first time. The cool cats and jazz babies were delirious with joy. They danced and sang and balled the jack till the cows came marching Johnny home on the range where the buffalo roam from sea to shining amber waves of amen brothers and sisters praise the lord shalom-a-rama dama ding dong daddy from Dumas gonna do muh stuff with YOU baby! The day after that Ramses hit a zillion more into the heavens and created the asteroids. The next day he hit a gazillion more and there were all the stars and the so-called Milky Way — alas more white-washing.
A little smooth sippin'
Gets the honey drippin'
A little sweet talkin'
Gets the hips rockin'
A little righteous jammin'
Gets the backswing slammin'
That's how black folks invented golf and brought light to the night.
Na mo shiranu,
[Among the grasses,
An unknown flower
And that's the truth, Ruth.