Keeping up with the Jones: It’s time to ramble on through our August issue

By |  August 8, 2023 0 Comments

I would say that it depends on your age if you get the headline on this month’s cover. But I’ll also say … it’s Led Zeppelin … they’re timeless!

Houses of the Holy by Led Zeppelin.

Houses of the Holy by Led Zeppelin.

If you know me, you know I’m a music nut. I have a 100-disc jukebox in my garage. I travel to see my favorite bands. I’m that guy who asks the other three players in my foursome if they want to listen to some tunes on the Bluetooth speaker when we’re on the golf course. (Apologies to all you golf purists who prefer the gentle sounds of the birds chirping, but I like to rock!)

If you’re not down with Led Zepp, I’ll explain: D’yer Mak’er is a classic rock song from Led Zeppelin, from their 1973 album Houses of the Holy. (Yes, I’m listening to the song as I write this. I encourage you to ask Siri, Alexa or your assistant to play it right now.)

When writing about this year’s Herb Graffis Businessperson of the Year award winner, Chris Navin — a slight misspelling of the iconic song name is truly the perfect title for his story. Because Navin, the superintendent of The Club at P.B. Dye in Ijamsville, Md., has remade the course.

The course people saw when Navin first signed on to be the superintendent in 2016 and what you see today are practically two different golf courses. Golf Magazine Top 100 instructor Steve Bosdosh told me the course wasn’t fit to host a junior tournament ten years ago. Earlier this season, Navin and his crew hosted a U.S. Open qualifier, receiving rave reviews.

And Navin and his crew have done all the work, ranging from regrassing tees with Tahoma 31 to building bridges in-house.

He is the Dye’r Maker.

“Early on, sure, it would have been easy just to ask for a few million and dump it all into restoration,” Navin says. “However, our owner was losing a lot of money yearly, only to see the business continue to fail more and more each year. We wanted to prove to him that we can do this. That this course can be successful without having to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars only to see failure.”

I talked to the course’s namesake, P.B. Dye, for the story. Despite a health scare a few years ago, Dye is doing well (“fat and sassy” is how he told me he’s feeling). Dye raved to me about the work Navin and his team have accomplished at the course. Just like his late father Pete, Dye has a way of saying things, with a wink and a smile, when discussing golf courses. In this case, Dye compared The Club at P.B. Dye to having an ugly baby.

“When a child is born, it can be pretty damn ugly those first three-and-a-half minutes,” he told me. “But then you get the child to grow up and get through those terrible twos, three and fours. Finally, you get them in a coat and tie. The more you’re there, the more you groom them, the better they look. And it doesn’t take money. It takes work.”

Navin tells me they’re happy with where they’ve gotten the golf course over the last six years, but they’re still striving to improve and grow. Every year the club’s revenue has grown. And more good news: the family owners are committed to the property and continue to invest more into the business each year.

By now, I hope you’ve put Led Zeppelin on shuffle. Whether you’re on Black Dog or Going to California, I hope you’ll check out my cover story on Navin, how he decided to change careers at age 30, and how he’s done so well at The Club at P.B. Dye.

It’s time to ramble on.

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About the Author: Seth Jones

Seth Jones, a 25-year veteran of the golf industry media, is Editor-in-Chief of Golfdom magazine and Athletic Turf. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Jones began working for Golf Course Management in 1999 as an intern. In his professional career he has won numerous awards, including a Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) first place general feature writing award for his profile of World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman and a TOCA first place photography award for his work covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his career, Jones has accumulated an impressive list of interviews, including such names as George H.W. Bush, Samuel L. Jackson, Lance Armstrong and Charles Barkley. Jones has also done in-depth interviews with such golfing luminaries as Norman, Gary Player, Nick Price and Lorena Ochoa, to name only a few. Jones is a member of both the Golf Writers Association of America and the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association. Jones can be reached at

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