Master Architect

Ellis Maples

The First Family of Golf Course Design

Ellis Maples was the second generation of arguably the first family of golf course design and construction in the Carolinas. His father, Frank, was the golf course superintendent at the Pinehurst Country Club from 1907 until his death in 1949. During his career, Ellis worked in all facets of the golf industry—golf professional, construction project manager, golf course superintendent - until finally settling in as one of the notable golf course architects of his era.

"Less is More"

Learning the practicalities of routine golf course maintenance and drawing upon his background as a construction superintendent led Ellis to a more frugal manner of course design than his mentor. The results were a simplified approach to the details of design that Ross so painstakingly drew into his plans and executed when he was on site. The Maples legacy may not have been as deliberate as Ross’s work, yet the coupling of the basic Ross routing philosophy and Ellis’s “less is more” philosophy led to a proliferation of simple yet timeless golf course routings that cemented Maples as an expert in his field.

This is especially true in his mountain work, where he wisely allowed the drama of the surroundings to take the lead and not dominate the site with sand or grass bunkers, just for the sake of design. The natural features of the land developed such strong strategic choices that few additional hazards were not necessary. His use of creeks and rock outcroppings at Grandfather is a clear example.

Kris Spence, a noted restorer of Ross and Maples courses, said that Ross and Maples had similar thoughts about ground options available to golfers, and they provided similar rewards to golfers who could get the ball up in the air and hit it a long way. Spence said that the two designers were masters of envisioning two or three ways to play a golf hole without moving lots of dirt.

The Carolinas' Best Golf Courses

Maples designed more than 50 courses in the Carolinas, several of which rank among the state’s best, including; Grandfather, Pinehurst #5, Bermuda Run, Forest Oaks, and the Dogwood Course at CCNC. Upon the passing of Ellis in 1984, his son Dan followed in his father’s footsteps in the family design business.

Ellis Maples was recognized for his accomplishments when inducted into the Carolinas PGA Hall of Fame. He also served a term as President of the American Society of Golf Course Architects.

Ellis Maples Golf Courses

Bermuda Run Country Club East Course
Boone Golf Club
Brandywine Bay Golf Club
Brook Valley Country Club
Calhoun Hills Golf Complex
Cedar Rock Country Club
Cedarbrook Country Club
Cedarwood Country Club
Chatmoss Country Club
Chesapeake Golf Club
Chockoyotte Country Club
Cleveland Country Club Coharie Country Club Ridgewood/Tall Pines
Columbia Country Club Ridgewood/Lakeside
Country Club of Johnston County
Country Club of Orangeburg
Country Club of Whispering Pines River Course
Greensboro Country Club Farm Course

Deep Springs Country Club
Duck Woods Country Club
Forest Oaks Country Club
Gaston Country Club
Goshen Plantation Golf Club
Grandfather Golf & Country Club Championship Course
Mountain Springs at Grandfather Golf & Country Club
Indian Valley Golf Course
Keith Hills Golf Club White Course
Kinston Country Club
Lexington Golf & Country Club
Maple Chase Golf & Country Club Maples at Woodlake Country Club
Midland Valley Golf Club
New Bern Golf & Country Club
Oak Hills Golf & Event Center
Oak Ridge Country Club Reynolds Park Golf Course
Oakwoods Country Club

Olde Mill Resort
Pinehurst Resort & Country Club No. 5
Plymouth Country Club
Quail Ridge Country Club
Red Fox Country Club Ridgeway Country Club
Roxboro Country Club
Sapona Ridge Country Club
Siler City Country Club
South at Carmel Country Club
The Country Club of North Carolina Dogwood Course
The Country Club of South Carolina
The Links at Mulberry Hill
West Lake Country Club
Whispering Woods Golf Course
Willow Springs Country Club
Winston Lake Golf Course
Wintergreen Resort - Devils Knob
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