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Collingwood golfer nears 100 years old and breaks 100 on the scorecard

Norm Barker turns 99 on Nov. 2 and still gets in three or four rounds of golf every week

Not many people can boast a golf score that matches their age. 

But Norm Barker regularly accomplishes such a feat. 

The Collingwood resident turns 99 years old on Nov. 2. His best golf score this season was 95.

“I break 100 quite regularly,” said Barker, who was on the links at Cranberry for the weekly Old Timers' Fun League game. 

There are 84 players for the Tuesday tournaments, all must be at least 70 years old to join. Barker is one of three regular players in the 90s club. 

The Old Timers' Fun League, affectionately called the OFL, began with 16 golfers, has been golfing together at Cranberry Golf Course once a week for eight years. 

“I enjoy golfing anytime,” said Barker. “I play with anybody at all. I don’t bother about who I’m playing with… I play from the yellow tees and they have to suffer that.” 

Barker plays golf three to four times a week at Cranberry. He picked up his clubs at 65 years old, and he moved to Collingwood 22 years ago. 

He said golfing is "good exercise" and helps get him "out of the house."

He also skied until he was 94 years old and in his younger days, he played a lot of tennis. 

Barker began his working career in the British Merchant Marines during the Second World War from 1941 to 1946. 

“I sailed on cargo ships or troop ships, whichever ship they sent me to,” said Barker. 

Twice during the war the ship he was aboard was sunk, though Barker isn’t sure if it was by hitting a mine or taking a torpedo from an E-boat. 

One one occasion, Barker said his ship was returning from a supply delivery of ammunition and food to troops in Antwerp when it was hit or struck a mine off the east coast of England. 

“All I know is that it went to the bottom,” said Barker. “Last I saw of it, the stern was out of the water and she was sinking by the bow.” 

The crew was picked up by a destroyer or a corvette, Barker couldn’t remember which. 

One one of the two occasions, Barker was among just four survivors from a crew of 30. On the other occasion, he remembers the entire crew survived. 

When he moved to Canada, he sailed out of Montreal for three years as the chief engineer on an ocean-going cargo ship. He was 27. 

His career also included work as a loss prevention engineer in the insurance industry.

Barker has been a member of the Collingwood Royal Canadian Legion for the full 22 years he’s lived in Collingwood. 

He said he expects to be there for his 99th birthday on Nov. 2. 

Barker gets visits from his two children (one is from Barrie, the other is from London) about once a month, and he’ll be having dinner with both on his birthday. 

Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter, photographer and community editor.
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