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Cushty: A Romany Life

by Joe Smith and Martin Knight

First published to critical acclaim as Gypsy Joe, with The Observer selecting it as its Sports Book Of The Year, Cushty is a revised and expanded edition that brings Joe Smith’s mercurial story up to date. Joe spent his early years travelling, his father metal-dealing and mother selling lucky heather, and as an infant he was encouraged by grandfather Rymer to reject the gypsy tradition of fighting and to take up golf. When Rymer died suddenly, Joe promised to fulfil his grandfather’s dream and become a professional golfer.


Trophies followed and Joe’s future seemed assured, but not everyone was happy about the wonder boy’s success. False accusations were made and he was asked to leave his beloved golf club. The effect on Joe’s self-esteem and game was devastating. Anger burned as he fell into bare-knuckle fighting and crime. His role models were thugs and crooks, no longer sportsmen. Only when prison loomed did he reflect on the course his life was taking. Remembering his promise to Rymer, he spurned the underworld and returned to golf where he reduced his handicap, turned professional and competed at the highest levels.


Cushty is not only a story of redemption, but also an uplifting account of a young gypsy man’s determination to realise his dream regardless of the prejudice and odds stacked against him.

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