Growing up in the Sand Hills of North Carolina and living in the birthplace of ASGCA, it can be easy to fall in love with the game of golf. Beginning at the age of 14, Ellis Maples worked for his father, who was longtime construction superintendent for Donald Ross and greenkeeper at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club. He would go on to attend Lenior-Rhyne College in North Carolina before returning to Pinehurst to work for his father as a greenkeeper, as well as for other local courses in the area, including Mid Pines and Pine Needles.
After completing small design and construction work and serving in World War II, he worked as a pro-manager for New Bern Golf and Country Club in 1947 and would spend additional time remodeling two courses in the nearby area. The following year, he would supervise the construction on Ross’ last design—Raleigh Country Club—and stay as superintendent until 1953. He then decided to take on golf architecture full time and went into private practice.
For the next 30 years, Maples was considered one of the busiest architects in the U.S. Always following the advice of Ross to never take a project he could not oversee, Maples spent most of his career traveling and overseeing the work of his projects. He also mentored his son and ASGCA Member Dan Maples.
Ellis was elected into ASGCA as a member in 1963 and was elected as ASGCA President in 1973. Ellis was elected as a Fellow in 1981 and was a member for 21 years until his death in 1984.