Larry Olmsted

Correspondent

  • Vermont, USA

Larry Olmsted is an at-large Forbes Travel Guide correspondent who lives in Vermont but regularly treks around the world as an award-winning journalist who has covered travel for more than 15 years. He writes the “Great American Bites” column for USAToday.com, previously wrote the “Life on Vacation” column for USA Today, and is the longtime contributing travel editor to Cigar Aficionado magazine. He has contributed to numerous travel guides, including the Michelin Green Guide, and writes regularly for both US Airways’ and American Airlines’ magazines. He also writes “The Great Life” column for Forbes.com.

  • On March 21, 2013
    Larry Olmsted answered the question: Larry Olmsted

    Do I need a caddie when I play at The American Club’s golf courses?

    You need a caddie at The American Club only if you play the Straits Course at Whistling Straits. This is a walking-only course with caddies required and no carts. The only exception is twilight play, usually after 3 p.m., when you do not need a caddie. Caddies are recommended but not required for the Irish Course, and available upon request at the Blackwolf Run courses. When taken, caddies cost $60 plus gratuity ($35 is suggested per bag). Carts are available on all courses except the Straits, and on these there is also the option for a forecaddie, who does not carry the bag but observes shots, reads putts, gives yardages and advice. Forecaddie fees are $30, with a recommended gratuity of $20 per bag. Each caddie can be shared by up to two golfers, and forecaddies by up to four.
  • On March 21, 2013
    Larry Olmsted answered the question: Larry Olmsted

    Which golf courses at The American Club host professional tournaments?

    The American Club’s Straits Course at Whistling Straits has twice hosted the PGA Championship, first in 2004 and most recently in 2010, making it one of just 11 public courses in the nation you can play that have hosted a men’s Major. It also hosted the U.S. Senior Open, a Champions Tour Major, in 2007. The course is scheduled to welcome the PGA Championship again in 2015 and the Ryder Cup in 2020. The Irish Course at Whistling Straits has hosted the international Palmer Cup competition, amateur golf’s version of the Ryder Cup. Blackwolf Run has hosted the U.S. Women’s Open, an LPGA Major, in 1998 and again in 2012. The tournament was played both times on a composite course made up of the best holes from both the River and Meadow Valleys courses. This layout also hosted the Andersen Consulting World Golf Championships in 1995, 1996 and 1997.
  • On March 21, 2013
    Larry Olmsted answered the question: Larry Olmsted

    Who designed The American Club’s golf courses?

    All of The American Club courses were designed by legendary architect Pete Dye, making this the only resort in the world with four public courses from the icon. Dye is the most awarded architect in golf, living or dead, with more Top 10, Top 20 and Top 50 U.S. designs than anyone else. His courses also host bigger professional PGA events, including the last two PGA Championships — one of them here at the Whistling Straits Course in 2010.
  • On March 21, 2013
    Larry Olmsted answered the question: Larry Olmsted

    What is the best golf course at The American Club?

    When it comes to the best course at The American Club, it’s a matter of opinion and debate, but the Straits course at Whistling Straits is generally considered the marquee course. It is currently ranked as the 4th best public course in the nation by the most prestigious Golf Magazine ranking, and has twice hosted men’s Major championships — the 2004 and 2010 PGA Championship. It also enjoys a dramatic setting on bluffs along the shore of Lake Michigan and is flanked with towering sand dunes. But many guests equally love the River course at Blackwolf Run, which is inland and wooded, and is ranked 11th in the nation by Golf Magazine, and also a two time Major host — the 1998 and 2012 U.S. Women’s Open. Peak season rates are $150 for the River and $360 for the Straits.
  • On March 15, 2013
    Natalie Wearstler is now following Larry Olmsted
  • On March 12, 2013
    Shannan Finke is now following Larry Olmsted
  • On February 25, 2013
    Larry Olmsted answered the question: Larry Olmsted

    Does Inn at Harbour Town offer RBC Heritage golf packages?

    Because the small Inn at Harbour Town is almost completely taken by PGA Tour players and staff, rooms are not available in the Inn itself during the event, but the Sea Pines Resort does offer Heritage accommodations packages in its many one- to four-bedroom villas (condos), as well as in larger rental homes, many within easy walking distance of the tournament. Villas start at just $320 per night even during this busy time, and three-bedroom homes from $2,800 weekly, or as little as $67 per person nightly. The Inn does offer an RBC Heritage Experience Package that treats the guest like a Tour Pro, with a walking caddie to complete the golf experience, plus amenities like VIP locker and private lesson before golf, but it is not available during the actual tournament, when the course is closed to public play.
  • On February 25, 2013
    Larry Olmsted answered the question: Larry Olmsted

    What makes the RBC Heritage at The Sea Pines Resort different from other golf tournaments?

    Several things make the RBC Heritage Tournament unique. History is hugely important, as this is one of the longest running tournaments, now in its 45th year. It traditionally attracts a very strong field with most of the country’s and many of the world’s best payers. It is run by a charity, the Heritage Classic Foundation, and as a result has distributed more than $23 million since 1987. But most importantly it has reputation as being extremely fan friendly. Many golf tournaments are in hard to reach places, almost like going to a stadium event, where you sit in traffic, arrive, watch and leave. Guests on Hilton Head get to enjoy all the normal vacation things — beach, riding bikes, tennis, great food and even playing golf — in addition to the tournament itself, which is well staffed by friendly volunteers. As a spectator it is hard to beat it.
  • On February 25, 2013
    Larry Olmsted answered the question: Larry Olmsted

    What’s the purse in the 2013 RBC Heritage at The Sea Pines Resort?

    The RBC Heritage Tournament is very high profile and one of  the most prominent regular season PGA Tour events after the Majors, and as such, it has one of the larger purses – for 2013 it is $5.8 million, with the winner getting a seven figure payday of $1,044,000. Every player who survives the two day cut and plays on the weekend goes home with a check.
  • On February 25, 2013
    Larry Olmsted answered the question: Larry Olmsted

    What should I bring to the RBC Heritage at The Sea Pines Resort?

    Things are much more relaxed the first three days during the pro-ams and practice rounds, when spectators are allowed to bring cameras and items to autograph, including golf course flags, shirts and other souvenirs. Starting on Thursday, no cameras are allowed and autograph items must be smaller than letter sized, 8.5 x 11”. Radios, coolers, backpacks, bags larger than purses and signs or banners are not allowed at any time. There are ample concession stands selling food and beverages within the gates. Cell phones are permitted but must be turned off, except for use in specially designated cell phone zones. What you should bring every day is suntan lotion for sure and perhaps a hat, binoculars if you want a better view and portable chairs are allowed, which can be very helpful especially if you stay in one place – it can be a long day standing.
  • On February 25, 2013
    Larry Olmsted answered the question: Larry Olmsted

    Who is playing in the 2013 RBC Heritage at The Sea Pines Resort?

    The professional field for the 2013 RBC Heritage Tournament has not been announced yet, but it traditionally is one of the most star-studded of all tournaments. It has been voted the most popular event of the year by the PGA Tour players themselves several times and they love coming. Because it is on laid back, family-friendly Hilton Head Island, many players who normally travel alone look forward to bringing their families. Also, because it follows immediately after the Masters, in nearby Augusta, GA, which attracts all the top players from every corner of the world, many stay and make the short trip here, so the Heritage usually attracts a very strong field of the world’s top players. Finally, the tournament was expanded this year from 132 to 144 players. Past champions here are a Who’s Who of Hall of Famers, including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, Hale Irwin, Bernhard Langer, Greg Norman, Nick Price, and Tom Watson.
  • On February 21, 2013
    Larry Olmsted answered the question: Larry Olmsted

    Where on Hilton Head Island is the RBC Heritage golf tournament?

    The RBC Heritage Tournament is played on the Harbour Town Golf Links in the Sea Pines resort. The tournament has changed sponsors and names several times, and used to be the MCI Heritage, followed by later telecom iterations WorldCom and Verizon, but it is one of the older events on the PGA Tour, since 1969, just two years after the course opened. Sea Pines is a big resort with condos and homes for rent, a luxury hotel (The Inn at Harbour Town), a full service marina, three golf courses, a world class tennis center, half a dozen bars and restaurants, and a shopping area.
  • On February 21, 2013
    Larry Olmsted answered the question: Larry Olmsted

    What are the best places to play golf on Hilton Head Island?

    The top public course on Hilton Head is definitely Harbour Town Golf Links in the Sea Pines resort. When opened in 1967 its two designers, Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus, were virtually unknown as course architects – now they are world famous. Its neo-links design, beautiful coastal holes and famous finish with dramatic lighthouse make it one of the most coveted rounds on the east coast. If you can wrangle an invite, or can have your course pro call on your behalf, the private Long Cove Club is even better, but generally not open to the public. The other top two choices on the island are the Pete Dye’s Heron Point, a six year old complete rebuild of the old Sea Marsh course, also in Sea Pines, and the Robert Trent Jones Course at the Palmetto Dunes Resort, one of the only courses with true oceanfront exposure. But after Harbour Town the next best choice sits just over the Hilton Head bridge in Bluffton, at May River, a stellar Nicklaus Signature Design in the luxury Palmetto Bluff resort.
  • On February 21, 2013
    Larry Olmsted answered the question: Larry Olmsted

    What is Las Vegas’ dining scene like?

    Chaotic and overwhelming. Las Vegas is sensory assault at all times, but never more than when trying to decide where – or what - to eat. It has everything you could want (with the notable exception of Indian food which has never taken hold). It is best to look at it by genre. Buffets are the classic but even this has evolved with gourmet versions at the Cosmopolitan, Wynn and especially the new Caesar’s Bacchanal costing more than many nice sit down dinners and offering hundreds of restaurant quality selections. Other buffets are bargains, at least in quantity. There is a whole category of 24 hour casino restaurants, basically coffee shops or diners with huge menus that never sleep, and every casino has one, though some are more unique, like the Hawaiian specialty driven menu at the California or the celebrity chef version by Michel Richard at Caesars. Many serve the famous Vegas late night specials like a $9.99 prime rib dinner with all the trimmings. Every casino also has mid-priced Asian noodle bar often serving dim sum as well. Fine dining has exploded, and Vegas is arguably the best place to experience a once in a lifetime meal, but most visitors do not. It is hard to sum up the scene but there are several big categories that define Vegas food, each with a broad mix of price and quality: buffets, steakhouses, sushi, Italian, 24 hour, fine dining, high-end seafood, Mexican and gourmet burgers would be the buckets most of the Strip’s eateries fall into.
  • On February 21, 2013
    Larry Olmsted answered the question: Larry Olmsted

    What are the best steakhouses in Las Vegas?

    You can hardly walk around Vegas without tripping over a high-end steakhouse and there are many excellent choices. For a modernized take on the classic experience with a wide choice of aged meats and beef from different countries and breeds, it’s hard to beat Wolfgang Puck’s CUT in Palazzo, which just does everything right, from wine list to sides to apps. So does Tom Colicchio’s CraftSteak (MGM Grand). The best sides are at Michael Mina’s StripSteak in Mandalay Bay, also one of the very few whose “wagyu” beef actually comes from Japan. Easily the hardest steakhouse reservation in town is the relatively new Gordon Ramsay Steak in Paris. For the classic old school New York steakhouse experience, two Big Apple transplants, Smith & Wollensky and the Palm, while ubiquitous, are ultra-reliable. For a dose of Rat Pack Vegas AND a great steak, try the iconic Golden Steer.