Sunday 30 September 2012

Golf Predictor New Look Now Live

New look Home page

New look page from Member section showing more new effects
Further to this post last week, I am pleased to announce an updated look for Golf Predictor. As can be seen in the screenshots above, the site has undergone a facelift, courtesy of Twitter Bootstrap. For those who don't know, Twitter Bootstrap is a cross-browser UI (User Interface) framework that has been made available to everyone by the brains behind the Twitter look and feel. This allows the addition of snazzy effects to a website with little effort (in theory anyway, if you exclude Internet Explorer (IE) in particular!) and I have incorporated many of these into Golf Predictor. Twitter Bootstrap has been heavily customised for the site and the major changes to Golf Predictor are:

  1. As can be seen in both images above, the original dropdown menu has been replaced with two new ones: one across the very top of the site and a fixed one in the same position as the old menu. As well as looking much nicer in general, the fixed menu and dropdown options on both menus have nice rounded corners and background shadowing*. The top menu contains a new logo on the left hand side and log in/log out/register links as appropriate on the right hand side. The links to the content pages remain on the fixed menu on the main 'page'. On both menus, each top level menu option has an icon associated with it. Two menus are used to ensure the updated design looks and behaves best on a wide variety of devices** from smartphones up to high resolution monitors.
  2. As shown in the second screenshot above, the member section menu has been revamped with more logical groupings of existing pages. New categories include "Predictions", "Results" and "Form". This should make things easier to find in the long run and facilitate the addition of new features in the future.
  3. As can be seen above, the banner graphic that was across the top of the page has been removed. 
  4. The main home page has been revamped somewhat with the GP logo in a rounded grey panel* and most of the text in two columns.Some of this can be seen in the first screenshot above.
  5. The font used for the web site has been updated for a more modern look.
  6. The tournament information panel on the various prediction pages is now in a nice panel with rounded corners*.
  7. Various status messages (e.g. unsubscribed messages) now appear in coloured panels with rounded corners*. This can be seen in the second screenshot above.
  8. Pop-up text on the various pages now has rounded corners and background shadowing*.
  9. Headings, buttons, breadcrumbs, text boxes, drop down lists and other page elements have also been spruced up thanks to Twitter Bootstrap. Note that some of these changes are browser dependent.
The page metaphor with the grass (ala a putting green!) background still persist as I think those elements still look pretty good! Overall though, this update is a major improvement over the original look of the site. More effects will probably be added to the site over the coming months, but unlike this update, these will be be minor tweaks.

You should update your browser to the latest version, especially if using IE (and particularly if using IE7 or, God forbid, an even older version!). As mentioned already, Twitter Bootstrap is cross-browser, but there were several issues with IE in particular. These have been largely overcome, but if you view the site with IE7 or IE8, it should work, but it will not look as nice as later versions (IE 10 is imminent!). This is mainly due to the reason already noted at the end of this post. The site has also been tested on Firefox 15, Chrome 22, Opera 12, Safari 5.1.7 and Safari mobile. It is impossible to design a non trivial site these days that looks the same in all browsers on all devices and on all monitor types at all resolutions, but I believe that I have achieved the best compromise.
    I trust you agree that this update has made Golf Predictor even better! A lot of work has gone into this new look, so please let me know what you think of the "Twitter Bootstrapification"! If you find an issue, please contact me as soon as possible.

    *Internet Explorer versions 8 and below do not support rounded corners or shadowing.
    **Golf Predictor is not designed for mobile devices, but it should appear reasonably well on most tablets (e.g. iPad, Galaxy Tab etc.) and smartphones (e.g. iPhone, Galaxy SIII etc.), Note however that the site uses Flash charts at the moment, which are not supported on some mobile devices (e.g. Apple products).

    Saturday 29 September 2012

    New Look Coming Tomorrow - Site will be Unavailable

    Further to this post last week, the Golf Predictor user interface will be updated tomorrow morning.To accomplish this, the site will be unavailable to log in to or register for from approximately 9am BST tomorrow for what will hopefully be a short period of time.

    It shouldn't take more than a few hours at the most, so thank you for your patience during this time. It will be worth it as the new look is a significant improvement on the existing site (in my humble opinion anyway!).

    Monday 24 September 2012

    New Look for Golf Predictor Coming This Week

    Although there are no predictions this week on Golf Predictor, that doesn't mean that it's a week off for me (unfortunately!). I plan to take advantage of this brief hiatus from tournament play to unveil a brand new look for the site this weekend. This new look is in final testing (and tweaking!) this week and it is hoped to go live at some stage this weekend. No new functionality is going to be added to the site, but there will be some re-organisation of existing functionality, which will be described in a future post.

    If all goes well with final testing, the log in page will be disabled for a period over the weekend while the site is being updated. As every single page on Golf Predictor is affected by this major facelift, this is quite a large undertaking and I would ask for your patience during this period. It will be worth it in the end as the new look is a big improvement over the existing one!

    No Predictions This Week

    There will be no predictions this week as the only event is the Ryder Cup. Golf Predictor is designed for individual stroke play events, which covers almost all the tournaments on the European and US PGA Tours. The exceptions, the WGC - Accenture Match Play,  the Volvo World Match Play Championship and the Reno-Tahoe Open (Stableford), are also covered  for completeness. However, these formats are very different from stroke play and thus our system is of limited use for these particular events. Golf Predictor is of practically no use for team match play events, so we do not cover the Ryder Cup or other such battles. Good luck to the European team though!

    Sunday 23 September 2012

    2012 - Week 38 Winner

    Brandt Snedeker (ranked 18th by Golf Predictor) won The Tour Championship by Coca-Cola on the US PGA Tour. The 31 year old American won a mind boggling $11.44 million by also securing the FedEx jackpot with his fourth US PGA Tour victory. Our top ranked player, Rory McIlroy, ran out of steam somewhat on the final day to finish tied 10th and miss out on that FedEx Cup megabonus. Overall, we had six of the top ten plus ties (6/14) in the restricted field event.

    Monday 17 September 2012

    2012 - Week 38 Predictions/Statistics Online

    The predictions for this week, The Tour Championship by Coca-Cola (US PGA Tour) are now available on Golf Predictor. No European PGA Tour event this week, so most of the pros have the next two weeks off. Only the top thirty in the FedEx Cup rankings are playing this week and just the twenty four Ryder Cup team members will be on duty next week! It will be interesting to see if the week off this week benefits those Ryder Cup team members not playing in Atlanta.

    2012 - Week 37 Winner

    Gonzalo Fdez-Castano (ranked 12th by Golf Predictor) won the BMW Italian Open pres. by CartaSi on the European PGA Tour. The 31 year old Spaniard put the disappointment of missing out on the Ryder Cup behind him by holding off Garth Mulroy to win his sixth tour title by two shots. Our top ranked player, local favourite Francesco Molinari, finished in tied 46th, but we had eight of the top thirteen plus ties in total (8/16). There was no event on the US PGA Tour this week.

    Tuesday 11 September 2012

    Feedback Required - Golf Predictor and the US PGA Tour (Post 2013)

    As you may be aware, the US PGA Tour schedule is changing radically from September next year (2013). From then on, the season will start in October and conclude the following September with the Tour Championship, the final leg of  the FedEx Cup play-offs. This has serious implications for Golf Predictor, where player results are combined across the two major tours for a more accurate picture of player form.  While it may be some way off, plans have to be put in place, given the limited free time at my disposal to address this issue.

    Things were awkward enough when their European Tour did not stick to a calendar year for their golfing season. However, no sooner have they aligned their schedule to the calendar, but the US Tour have thrown a large spanner in the works. At least there was no tour overlap when the European Tour was out of synch, but things will be very different with the new US PGA Tour schedule. With the Fall Series now kicking off the season and carrying FedEx Cup points, it raises the very distinct possibility of golfers (mainly European Tour members) playing on the 2014 US PGA Tour one week and the 2013 European Tour the next (and/or vice versa).

    This will obviously make statistics tracking across both tours very difficult. These are the options as I see it:

    1. The nuclear option: Close the site at the end of the 2013 season and refund all outstanding subscriptions. While this would give me my life back (especially on Sundays and Mondays!), it's a bit extreme and not likely to happen. My other half would be happy though!!
    2. Restrict coverage after the 2013 season to one tour. This would probably mean keeping the US PGA Tour, given the quality of the events and what most Golf Predictor users are interested in. However, restricting data to one tour defeats the purpose of the site as it makes the stats incomplete for golfers who play on both tours. On the plus side, it would cut down on my work load considerably!
    3. Come up with an even more complicated algorithm than the one already in use to allow for these different seasons in the one calendar year. Even if it could be made to work, it would be very messy at best and would need a lot of time for development and testing. However, I have neither the time nor the inclination to completely rework the site to account for this (even if it can be done!).
    4. Introduce the concept of the "GP Season". This would be what the season currently is and allow Golf Predictor to continue on more or less as is. The GP Season would therefore run from January to December and include all events from the European Tour that year and span two US PGA Tour seasons (e.g. the 2014 GP Season would cover Jan-Sept of the 2014 season and Oct-Dec of the 2015 season). A new field can be added to the database to record and display the actual US PGA Tour season an event is in. However, for stats purposes, it will be considered to be in the GP Season for the calendar year in which it is held. As golfers will still take their longish Christmas breaks, January will continue to play like a new season anyway!

    Option four is by far the best (and easiest) way around this issue that I can come up with. However, I would very much welcome any user's opinion as there are probably options I haven't thought of! So, please comment on this post or contact Golf Predictor directly with your suggestions. I might even give away some free subscriptions for any good ideas!

    Monday 10 September 2012

    2012 - Week 37 Predictions/Statistics Online

    The predictions for this week, the BMW Italian Open pres. by CartaSi (European PGA Tour) are now available on Golf Predictor. While the Americans and most of the top Europeans are taking the week off in advance of the FedEx Cup finale, there will be a few European Ryder Cup stars teeing it up in Italy.

    Sunday 9 September 2012

    2012 - Week 36 Winners

    Peter Hanson (ranked 3rd by Golf Predictor) won the the KLM Open. It was an amazing victory for the 34 year old Swede who was playing on limited sleep following the hospitalisation of his young son with respiratory problems. Our top ranked player, David Lynn, finished in tied 32nd and we had eleven of the top twenty one plus ties (11/25).

    On the US Tour, Rory McIlroy (ranked 1st by Golf Predictor) won the third event of the FedEx Cup play-offs, the BMW Championship. The 23 year old Northern Irish man continued his stellar form with an exhibition of driving and precision iron play to land his fourth title of the season. It was a high quality event with a host of big names showing good form ahead of the Ryder Cup. Including the winner, we had thirteen of the top sixteen plus ties (13/23).

    Tuesday 4 September 2012

    2012 - Week 36 Predictions/Statistics Online

    The predictions/stats for this week, the BMW Championship (US PGA Tour) and the KLM Open (European PGA Tour) are now available on Golf Predictor. It's the third week of the FedEx Cup play-offs in the US this week and the pressure will be on to qualify for the lucrative Tour Championship in two weeks time. Not many big names at the KLM Open this year, but former US PGA champion Kaymer is once again supporting the event.

    Monday 3 September 2012

    2012 - Week 35 Winners

    Richie Ramsay (ranked 30th by Golf Predictor) won the Omega European Masters on the European PGA Tour. The 29 year old Scot won his second tour title with a comfortable four shot victory in the scenic Swiss mountains. Our top ranked player, Paul Lawrie finished in tied 6th and we had six of the top fourteen plus ties (6/18) in total. 

    Rory McIlroy (ranked 3rd by Golf Predictor) won the Deutsche Bank Championship on the US PGA Tour. The 23 year old Northern Irish sensation won his third title of the season by one shot after a final day battle with Louis Oosthuizen. Our top ranked player, Luke Donald, finished in tied 26th and we had eleven of the top eighteen plus ties (11/19).

    2012 - Week 36 Predictions Delay

    As usual, the Deutsche Bank Championship is not scheduled to finish until today (Monday), which is the Labor Day holiday in the US. Because of this, the predictions/statistics for the BMW Championship and the KLM Open this week will probably not be available until tomorrow, when the result is known and all the raw statistics are available.

    I will of course update
    Golf Predictor and generate this week's predictions/statistics as soon as possible.