River Crest Country Club
Most of Bob Clifton’s career has been in the private club industry.
He’s spent the past decade at River Crest Country Club – Fort Worth’s second-oldest country club, dating to 1911 – overseeing its financial life, everything from food and labor costs, property taxes and memberships, to the club’s $13.5 million renovation in 2012.
A native of Louisiana, Clifton earned a degree in political science from Tulane University and an MBA from Centenary College in Shreveport. He began his career in banking, eventually becoming supervisor of the personal trust operations accounting group at First National Bank of Commerce in New Orleans, and becoming a certified public accountant. He was introduced to the private club world by his sister-in-law and took an accounting position with ClubCorp, where he was later promoted to controller. He came to River Crest in 2001 to do contract work and was offered the controller’s position a year later.
“Once I began working with members, I really enjoyed it,” he says. “Employees in this industry enjoy serving people in different capacities. For me, serving members and their families and helping provide a safe haven for them to recharge and enjoy themselves is very fulfilling.”
Ned Stocker with The Brants Co. credits Clifton’s steady hand, conservative budgeting and action in seeking the counsel of the board, his industry peers and insurance consultants for keeping River Crest at the top of its game.
“Bob has been the catalyst in keeping RCCC in solid financial condition. Our commercial bankers and public accountants will tell you that Bob is among their best clients,” Stocker said.
Clifton sees himself as “more of a student of this business rather than an authority on it.”
“I see the achievements of River Crest Country Club as a product of team effort, with an exceptional group of managers and supervisors working with employees who are continually striving to provide excellent service to its members and guests,” Clifton says.
Clifton met his future wife, Stephanie, in graduate school. A critical care registered nurse, she works for Texas Health Resources as the data analyst for the cardiovascular service line. The couple’s older daughter, Nicole, is a second-year medical student at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Younger daughter Kaitlyn recently graduated from St. Edward’s University with a degree in social work/Spanish and is working in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Clifton is active with the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) and his church, and enjoys motorcycling, camping and exploring national parks.
What is the best piece of financial advice you’ve ever received?From Dave Ramsey – the No. 1 cause of divorce and fights in marriage is money. Some of the same advice he gives to couples regarding money management applies to business.
What books/publications do you read to stay ahead in your industry?Journal of Accountancy, Mitchell Stump’s Club Sales & Use Tax Book, periodic readings from CMAA, HFTP (Hospitality Financial & Technology Professionals) and Hospitality Upgrade magazine.
Who would you say is your hero/someone you look up to, and why?There are several people in my life that I have been associated with that have just seemed to be there when I needed it. Through different life and career events, I can always think of someone whom I was blessed to have standing there by me, either offering counsel or providing leadership. My father and mother, Robert and Betty, had a tremendous influence on me, and I will always regard my father as my hero. He had the heart of a servant, and many times he would sacrifice his own personal time to improve someone else’s lot. Stephanie would be my heroine. I think she is one of the most street-smart people I have ever met. She is well-respected in her profession and in our church, and I know both my children love and adore her unconditionally. They learned that from her unconditional love she provides to all of us.
– Betty Dillard