I’ve often been asked why the café by the Naze Tower is named ‘The Links Café’
“The links” is simply a strip of generally undulating, but always sandy, terrain linking the sea and the arable farmland around the edges of the British Isles.
As this area often went unused, save for the odd rabbit farm, this was ideal ground for sporting pioneers on the east coast of Scotland back in the 15th and 16th centuries, as they experimented with a new stick and ball game and it was over these narrow corridors of gorse-covered, sandy dunes that rudimentary “courses” were first carved out and golf, as we know it began.
The club house can be seen to the left of the Tower in this photo
But how many know that the Golf Club which was established there in 1925 was home to a lady golfer who was a World Champion?
Kathleen Garnham (left) was one of Britain’s leading amateur golfers prior to WW2. Her family were founding members of the Naze Golf Club, where her father was Chairman and her mother was Ladies Captain.
She was born in 1904 and by the time she was 27 years old named golfer of the year in 1931 by fellow women English golfers. In that same year she featured as one of the country’s leading Amateur Ladies Golfers in a special edition of the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News magazine.
She was a member of the successful British team which toured the United States in 1933 where she won that year’s Florida State Championship, the Sedgefield Medal Tournament and reached the final of the South Atlantic Tournament.
Kathleen Garnham was a member of the English Ladies Golf Union team which won the International matches played at Ranelagh Golf Club, West London in 1934 and 1935. She won the French Open in 1937 and the Belgian Open in 1939.
She was also an accomplished painter of children’s portraits and landscapes hosting her own one-woman shows in London. Her golfing and her painting were interrupted by World War II service as a war substantive section officer in 1943 in the British Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in a photo interpretation unit that served the U.S. Army Air Forces as well as the Royal Air Force. She was credited with identifying the German missile factories at Peenemunde that built the V-1 and V-2 rockets that were used against England. Like most service personnel she was awarded two campaign medals.
She then moved to Baltimore in 1948 and married architect Charles M Nes Jnr who had served in the US Air Force in England. She continued to play golf and was a member of the Green Spring Valley Golf Club, Maryland, where she won the club championship in 1972 at the age of 68. She also won the US Women’s Golf Association Senior Championships (70 years and over class) five of the first six years she was eligible. She sadly died after a car crash in the US in 1990 at the age of 86.
All details of Kathleen Garnham above have been researched by Steven Walker who has kindly given permission for publication here.