Think Disney World is the friendliest place on earth? Try Erin Hills and Wisconsin

ERIN, Wis. — “Happy Friday, everybody!” bellowed a spritely young woman clad in the red-striped U.S. Open-logoed polo shirt. She stood by as spectators walked through an entrance at Erin Hills Golf Course, repeating the phrase every half minute or so. There was sing-song lint to her voice, cheery but hardly put on. It mirrored the smile on her face, as sincere as it was bright.

At the risk of sounding surprised or cynical, the people here in Wisconsin act a bit differently. At a basic level, you could say they’re just plain nice folk, but that doesn’t adequately convey their magnanimousness. It’s a unique brew of friendly, courteous, compassionate and humble.

Take for example when I traveled through a crowded crosswalk heading toward the 18th hole during Wednesday’s practice round. Herding alongside a few dozen people, I felt a little like I was back in Manhattan, riding the cramped subway I take to our Golf Digest office. As we moved along, I accidentally stepped on the foot of a gentleman walking beside me. Embarrassed, I apologized for my mis-step, only to have the man turn to me and insist that it was actually his fault. “I was getting too close,” he said.

Too close?!? Everybody was too close! In that moment there was no such thing as too

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