here, golf course architects and ASGCA members Lloyd M. Clifton,
Sr., Ken Ezell and George Clifton.
our Forest Lake, FL family and other friends ~ George Clifton
and I are saddened to announce the passing of our Mentor and
Dad ~ Lloyd ~ he certainly enjoyed a Life Well Lived.
and friends lost a true gentleman and pioneer of golf throughout
Florida with the passing of Lloyd M. Clifton, Sr. on December
10th. Born August 8th, 1924 ~ Lloyd belonged to one of the
oldest pioneering families of Volusia County, FL. His warm heart
, understanding ear and soft spoken words always found the best
in people ~ he was best friend to many.
Lloyd was a superb
athlete! He excelled at football and basketball in high school
receiving many honors while earning the name twinkle toes
Clifton. He played football and baseball at Stetson University
then advanced to semi-professional baseball playing for the Deland
Red Hats and then the Sanford Giants. During this period he
met his true love Bonnie. They were married for 65 years.
Golf may never
have known Lloyd if not for several devastating knee injuries
that halted first his football career and later baseball. After
these setbacks, Lloyd decided to get a horticulture degree from
his beloved University of Florida. His first career position
started as Beautification Director for the City of Daytona Beach.
When the opening for Greenskeeper became available at their Municipal
Courses he leaped at the opportunity.
In 1957, Lloyd
moved to Orlando becoming the first golf course superintendent
at Rio Pinar County Club which was under construction. A dispute
between the architect and owners left Lloyd to finish the course
and afforded him his first taste of golf design. He remained
at Rio Pinar during the first Citrus Open and in 1961 became
one of the first recipients of the distinguished Florida Turfgrass
Associations Wreath of Grass Award.
to Deland in 1962 to help run the family fern operation. He
started his agronomy consultation business during this time which
over the next 20+ years consulted on over 150 Florida courses.
In 1964, he added Golf Course Architect to his resume with
the opening of West Orange Country Club in Winter Garden. He
designed 15 new courses over the next 22 years plus, directed
many other remodels including such local names as Indigo Lakes,
Plantation Bay, Sweetwater Oaks, Pelican Bay South, Deer Run,
Hunters Creek and Orange Blossom Hills. He was a Member
of the American Society of Golf Course Architects with Fellow
In 1987, Lloyd
brought George and myself into the design business. Creations
like Grey Oaks in Naples, Highland Creek (Charlotte, NC), Terra
Vista (Round Rock, TX) expanded the Clifton name outside of North
and Central Florida. The Villages was just starting to take
off when H.G. Morse brought us back to design Hacienda Hills
in 1989/1990. Lloyd remained amazed that The Villages which
started out with a nine-hole golf course transformed through
vision to the largest golf community in the world. We have been
blessed to have had a hand in designing 603 of The Villages soon
to be 630 holes of golf. All in All ~ 81 equivalent 18-hole
courses throughout the Southeast carry the Clifton or CEC name.
passion beyond family was: 1.) Fishing ~ He loved bass fishing
anytime, and his semi-annual snook fishing trips with his friend
Pete Osbourne will always be remembered. 2.) The Gators &
Tailgating ~ for years he and Bonnie rarely missed a game
traveling with their friends Betty and Bill Chirms.
We will miss Lloyd,
but celebrate his many gifts bestowed on us! Raise a glass
in his memory!
- Kenny Ezell