Course Architects

Cedarwood Country Club was originally designed by Ellis Maples in 1963 and restored by Kris Spence in 2005.

Ellis Maples

At age 14, Ellis Maples worked summers for his father, Frank, who was the construction superintendent for the great Donald Ross in Pinehurst. After attending Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, N.C., Ellis served as assistant greenkeeper for his father at Pine Needles and Mid Pines in Southern Pines, both Ross creations.

In 1948, at age 39, he supervised construction of Ross’ last design, the Raleigh Country Club. Four years later, he hung out his shingle as course architect. Over the years, his firm was responsible for more than 70 designs, mostly in North Carolina and Virginia.

Maples designed Grandfather Golf and Country Club and the Dogwood Course at the Country Club of North Carolina. He also designed Forest Oaks Country Club, site of the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro on the PGA Tour. In addition, he was the architect for the South Course at Carmel Country Club, Gaston Country Club, Keith Hills Country Club, Pinehurst No. 5, Sapona Country Club, Walnut Creek Country Club, the Country Club of South Carolina, Midland Valley Country Club, and Wellman Country Club.

Cedarwood Country Club was designed by Ellis Maples in 1963 and it remains one of his best designs. Although Ellis passed away in 1984, his work continues to live through courses such as Cedarwood Country Club.


Kris Spence

Carving a niche as a specialist in restoring Donald Ross and Ellis Maples designs, Kris Spence has a fast-growing reputation as one of the bright minds in the game. Interesting enough, Kris Spence’s background as a golf course superintendent transitioning into to a golf course architect mirrors the development of both Maples and Ross careers.

In addition to restoring Cedarwood, Spence restored the Ross design at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville and was named by Golfweek as the Best Restoration in the U.S. for 2002.

Spence began his career as a superintendent, reworking the bunkers at Atlanta Athletic Club and supervising the redesign of the greens at Forest Oaks Country Club, a Maples design. He also was the superintendent of the construction team during the building of the Governor’s Club in Chapel Hill.

He became a full-time architect in 1998, forming Spence Golf. In addition to the Grove Park Inn restoration, he restored the Ross-designed Mimosa Hills Country Club in Morganton to excellent reviews. He has also completed the restoration of Gaston Country Club, a Maples design.

One of his most highly-regarded renovations to date is Cape Fear Country Club in Wilmington, a 1922 Ross design. Spence’s work there has drawn raves from people in that part of the state and well beyond.

Spence has also renovated Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, for years the site of the Greater Greensboro Open. In addition, he conducted the renovation at Carolina Golf Club in Charlotte, a 1929 Ross design.