Evan Thompson / The Record — Brion Lubach, second from the left, speaks about Herb Magnusson (second from right) during the grand opening ceremony for the Herb Magnusson Learning Center.

New Useless Bay learning center named after beloved PGA pro

Herb Magnusson didn’t expect any accolades in return for his services to golfers at the Useless Bay Golf and Country Club.

The longtime PGA pro and Coupeville resident’s mission was to improve the game of those around him through tutoring and mentoring. He repeatedly declined offers of payment in exchange for his tutoring.

Magnusson was in awe of the recognition he received Sunday afternoon during a country club ceremony that officially named a new learning center after him. The Herb Magnusson Learning Center includes three covered and heated hitting stations. There is also a private hitting station specifically tailored for golf instruction, which includes video equipment and launch monitors that will be used for accurate club fitting and swing feedback.

“I am quite honored,” Magnusson, 82, said to a crowd of about 50 people who attended the event. “I’m just so thankful that I was in golf. And I’m thankful to see all you people playing golf. I think people have missed the boat a little bit if they haven’t started golf in some way. I like golfers and I like the questions they ask me, and if I can help them, then that’s what it’s all about.”

“The most enjoyment I got out of golfing is helping the other people,” he added.

Brion Lubach, the club’s head golf professional, said Useless Bay Golf and Country members raised over $60,000 to build the facility. Lubach spoke about the people involved in the creation of the learning center, Magnusson’s impact on the club and the purpose of the new learning center, which is exclusive to members of the country club.

“Building this is building our future here at Useless Bay,” Lubach said. “We’re going to be able to continue teaching golf to those who either want to get better or want to start playing golf.”

Lubach said TrackMan, a video monitoring device, measures swing speeds and “everything you wanted to know and most of the things you don’t want to know about your golf swing.”

“We’ll be using that in here frequently,” Lubach said.

Lubach also specifically thanked Bob Dalton, Dan and Marge Carter, and the Carter family for their time, efforts and contributions with the creation of the learning center.

Many of Magnusson’s former proteges were in attendance, including Darcy Bruckner of Clinton and Liz Lee of Useless Bay who were both part of the 9-Hole Ladies’ Golf club. They both spoke volumes about the type of impact Magnusson had on their golf game and the difference the learning center will make for them moving forward.

Bruckner, who is from Venezuela, said she had never played golf before she met Magnusson 10 years ago.

“So far I’m doing really well because of Herby,” Bruckner said. “I didn’t know how to play before. I am very passionate and play a lot because of Herby.”

“With Herby, he’s a very warm person,” she added.

Lee said Magnusson taught her everything about golf. She said she took about six months off from golf, but recently picked up her clubs to play a round. Though she was hesitant to see if her skills held up, she thought of advice she used to receive from Magnusson years before. Lee went on to shoot one of the best rounds of her life.

Lee added that Magnusson dedicated ample time to teaching Useless Bay members the fundamentals of golf for free.

“He said, ‘How you pay me is by practicing,’” Lee said.

South Whidbey High School senior golfer Kolby Heggenes, who finished second in the class 1A state golf championships in May, said she’s thrilled with the possibilities of the learning center.

“I can come out and play in the winter and it will definitely improve my game and keep me playing golf,” Heggenes said. “This will be amazing to come back here and work on stuff and be able to use the TrackMan.”