Known to the rest of us as Mimosa, the CDC Golf & Country Club was built on the original Clark Air Base Golf Course. Intended to be the ultimate getaway complex in golf boom of the 1990s Mimosa is built on what was known as the Clark Air Base Golf Club. The original eighteen was split and expanded into what are now two lovely golf courses.
Redesigned in 1992 under former Mimosa Leisure Estate chair Antonio Gonzales by Hawaii based course architects Robin Nelson and Neal Haworth, Mimosa now boasts 36-holes of delightful golf that exploits the differences in terrain of the vast property.
The Acacia Course is the easier of the two. It winds around most of the original layout through ancient trees from which the course gets its name. The holes are short for the most part and although there are a few lakes, the course is very playable for golfers of all handicaps. The opening stretch of holes is particularly memorable as the course criss-crosses a dry steam bed under the watchful gaze of the Zambales mountain range in the West and Mt. Arayat in the East.
The Mountain Course is the championship layout. It’s long; a whopping 7,303 yards from the Green championship tees. It’s a slightly unusual layout with three par-threes on the front and just one on the back nine. The first three holes take you around a hill that hosts the former communications tower of the old American airbase. The third hole presents a particular problem on this side; the short par-4 doglegs to the right around the base of the hill. The fairway is a narrow affair and the humps and elevation changes of the primary landing area make for a tricky approach into the green. It’s a spectacular hole but a hacker’s nightmare.
The back nine is set on somewhat flatter terrain but makes up for it with added length. The longest par-fours and three par-fives are on this side, making it a formidable task for the weekend golfer. The 453-yard (from the gold tees) 12th and 458-yard 15th will prove especially difficult. Interesting then that the hardest hole on the back is the par-5 13th; water is in play after the tee shot and the green is set just up against the lake which poses most of the problems for the golfer.
The par-threes are delightful; the 6 looks like it belongs on a postcard. It requires a long iron over water to a green framed by the mountain from which the course gets its name and 16 offers the ultimate treat; an island green. Fortunately for the recreational golfer, it’s not too long measuring just 153-yards from the gold tees and the green is generous. The course closes with a magnificent par-five that requires manoeuvring your ball around century old acacia trees. The hole plays uphill towards the clubhouse and is well bunkered to frustrate all but the best approach shots.
In spite of its difficulty, it’s a beautiful golf course and a sheer pleasure to play. There are sublime views of the Zambales mountain range and Mt. Arayat is never far from sight. The vastness of the property will impress you with a serene round (except for the occasional shout of, “Fore!”) of golf on a glorious golf course. Factor in the amazing cuisine of the Kapampangans and you have the makings of a great golfing get-away that is more accessible than you think.
The North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Exchange (SCTEX) means that the once distant city of Angeles is now a mere hour-fifteen away in normal traffic. Travel time there will be cut further when the connection of the SLEX and NLEX via the new feeder road that is currently under construction. The facilities at Clark are ample; Mimosa alone houses two hotels; the Holiday Inn Mimosa and Monte Vista Villas and Suites (which uses the former officers’ villas to house guests), a casino, Korean, Filipino, Italian and Japanese restaurants to boot. If you get bored on the base then there’s always the city of lights just outside the sprawling confines of Clark.
Plan a trip out to Mimosa and bring the family, too. There’s something for everyone here.