Page 6 From Winter 2014 Florida Golf Magazine ©Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved. Subscribe at
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The Passing of a Great Golf Course Architect, Lloyd M. Clifton, Sr.
"Raise a glass in his memory!"
by Ken Ezell, ASGCA

Golf Course Architects and ASGCA Members Lloyd M. Clifton, Sr., Ken Ezell and George CliftonSeen here, golf course architects and ASGCA members Lloyd M. Clifton, Sr., Ken Ezell and George Clifton.

        To 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”.
        Golf, family 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 Association’s Wreath of Grass Award.
        Lloyd returned 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, Hunter’s Creek and Orange Blossom Hills. He was a Member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects with Fellow Status.
        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.
        Lloyd’s 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

Page 6 From Winter 2014 Florida Golf Magazine ©Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved. Subscribe at
To advertise in Florida Golf Magazine in print and on-line, phone 863-227-2751 and/or email