Sometimes, all it takes is a friendly face at the starter's shack to get a round of golf off on the right foot.
That's why at Golf Advisor, we've compiled the ratings and reviews from 2014 and found the top 25 friendliest golf courses as rated by golfers themselves.
When you rate a golf course in your account on Golf Advisor, one of the five-star ratings is for "Staff Friendliness." We've run the numbers to determine each course's average and thus, the most friendly courses in the U.S.
The results? Rural Indiana golf courses take the top two spots.
In fact, Midwestern courses and Southeastern courses dominate the list, while there are a few West Coast facilities that made it. Northeast courses, with the exception of Woodstock Inn & Resort Golf Club in America's quaint capital of Vermont, were shut out entirely, which begs the question: Are northeast facilities not as friendly -- or do their patrons simply not notice good service?
Golfers certainly notice at Royal Hylands Golf Club in Knightstown, Ind., which finished on top with a perfect score and strong 4.78 overall rating. Read most of the course's reviews and the staff is mentioned in the vast majority of them.
This top 25 is comprised of mom-and-pop joints in the 'burbs, urban locales, high-end resorts, top 100-ranked courses and facilities managed by multi-course operators. It just goes to show that the amount of the green fee should have no effect on whether or not you're made to feel welcome.
Golf Advisor's Top 25 Friendliest Courses in the U.S. in 2014
1. Royal Hylands Golf Club, Knightstown, Ind.
2. Eagle Pines Golf Club, Mooresville, Ind.
3. The Trails at Chickasaw Point Golf Club, Westminster, S.C.
4. Woodstock Inn & Resort Golf Club, Woodstock, Vt.
5. Plumas Pines Golf Resort, Graeagle, Calif.
6. Saddle Creek Golf Club, Lewisburg, Tenn.
7. Links At Land's End, Yantis, Texas
8. Deercroft Golf & Country Club, Wagram, N.C.
9. Belterra Casino Golf Club, Florence, Ind.
10. The Hideaway Country Club, Fort Myers, Fla.
11. Hidden Falls Golf Club, Marble Falls, Texas
12. RiverTowne Country Club, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
13. 7 Lakes Country Club, West End, N.C.
14. Maderas Golf Club, Poway, Cali.
15. St. James Bay, Carrabelle, Fla.
16. Spring Creek Golf Club, Gordonsville, Va.
17. General Burnside Island, Burnside, Ky.
18. The Carolina Club, Grandy, N.C.
19. The Palmer Course at La Cantera, San Antonio, Texas
20. Waldorf Astoria Golf Club, Orlando, Fla.
21. The Pointe Golf & Lake Club, Mooresville, N.C.
22. Bali Hai Golf Club, Las Vegas, Nev.
23. Falcon Valley Golf Club, Lenexa, Kan.
24. Suncadia Resort, Cle Elum, Wash.
25. The Dragon at Nakoma Golf Resort, Clio, Calif.