Joe Smith has continued his crusade against snobbery in golf by launching his very own hickory tour.
'Gypsy Joe's' background is about as far removed from the stuffiness and blazers of golf's old school as you can get, having grown up on a travellers' site in Hanworth.
Smith, who now lives in West Drayton, gave up the game as a teenager, despite being London Junior Open champion, after encountering what could at best be described as snootiness, and at worst, downright prejudice.
After being forced to leave the exclusive Home Park (now Hampton Court Palace) course near Kingston, following a row over a plate of sandwiches, Smith instead turned his talents to bare-knuckle fighting, in which he also became London heavyweight champion.
He returned to golf via a stint as club pro at Hounslow Heath, and now plays off the Wyke Green course at Osterley, but clashes with authority were never far away, like the time he turned out at the Royal St George's course with the cross of St George shaved into the back of his head.
Despite cutting a calmer figure these days, Smith could not resist making a point when he was refused entry earlier this year to a society for British hickory golfers – a form of the game where wooden clubs are used and retro clothes worn.
He said: “I spent £700 in wooden clubs, but this hickory golf society wouldn't have me, and I've put it down to my background, I know someone with a much higher handicap who just got in.
“Back when I was kicked out of my first golf club I was a kid who didn't know how to stand up for myself. Now I've got some knowledge and money, and they won't beat me.
“I've started my own tour and it will be open to everybody. We will take it all over the country, and internationally eventually.”
The London Hickory Open, which will have a pre-1935 theme, was launched last week at Stockley Park Golf Course, with Joe's son, Rymer, winning the scratch with a score of 78, beating his old man by a shot.
On the par 72 course, Matthew Perry and Steve Bradley won the pairs with a stableford score of 70, while Joe Brazil was the nett winner with a 39 stableford.