New for 2016: 'Course Layout' added to the subcategory star ratings on Golf Advisor

It was a busy year at Golf Advisor in 2015, as users like yourself submitted more than 121,000 ratings on courses all over the world. And next week, we'll unveil our best-of lists, highlighting the top 50 courses in the United States, plus the best courses in many of our top golf states as well as top-rated courses by subcategory like conditions and value.

If you've submitted a review in the past week, you may have noticed a few little changes to the review form. We've made several in order to make the review form not only more user friendly, but also as a way to paint an even clearer picture of the golf experience.

The first difference you'll likely notice is that we've replaced the "Food & Beverage" subcategory with "Course Layout," which we hope helps satisfy course architecture aficionados. We made this change because we believe the current subcategories were omitting what many believe is the most important element of the golf experience. "Course layout" means not only the design of individual holes, but also the routing of the course. You can also take into account the various sets of tees and whether everyone in your group, no matter which set they played, felt it was a fair test.

Also, not everyone uses the Food & Beverage at a course (all of our subcategory ratings are optional, and far more reviewers left that blank compared to our other star ratings like "Course Conditions" and "Staff Friendliness"). Instead, we've reworded the "Conditions of Overall Facility" subcategory to "Off-Course Amenities," so include your "Food & Beverage" experience, if applicable, in that star rating.

You can also still make comments about the food in your write-up, as well as select any elements of the food experience in the optional word cloud check boxes at the bottom of the review form.

Once we receive enough "Course Layouts" ratings, you'll see it appear on each course page, and we'll find out which courses were the top rated layouts at the end of the year, so stay tuned.

We always appreciate your feedback on how we can improve the course-review experience, so if you have any comments or concerns, please be sure to let us know.

Brandon Tucker is the Sr. Managing Editor for GolfPass and was the founding editor of Golf Advisor in 2014, he was the managing editor for Golf Channel Digital's Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and nearly 600 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at @btuck34.

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New for 2016: 'Course Layout' added to the subcategory star ratings on Golf Advisor