GHIN Enterprise Server (Data)

GHIN Services Update 4/27/16

We realize the past ten days have been challenging for all of you. The USGA understands the importance of the mobile app to the success and goodwill of your membership.  The following is a brief recap of the last ten days and how we anticipate moving forward.

On Saturday April 16, monitoring by the USGA IT team showed that the GHIN system was fielding an unprecedented number of requests from the GHIN mobile app.  This additional activity was putting a significant strain on the core GHIN platform.   In order to preserve the integrity of the core GHIN functions, such as score posting and TPP, we made the decision to disable the mobile app’s access to GHIN until we could define both the problem and a solution.

Our investigation determined that score postings via the GHIN mobile app and other SRGA mobile apps had increased by more than 73% and users are up 47% in 2016 over the same period in 2015.  Neither the mobile apps nor their interfaces to GHIN were able to sustain that volume in their current form.  Both the apps and interfaces are being rebuilt so that core GHIN can support the growth in mobile usage.

One additional note, we are seeing unexpected growth in the kiosk usage this year.   Kiosk usage is up 71% over last year.  This has resulted in our team putting the kiosk into “cache mode” earlier in the season that we did last year.  Cache mode stores the data locally until it reconnects to the system and it is our way of protecting core GHIN from the demands of the kiosk, and is similar to the method we are building to protect core GHIN from being impacted by the growth in mobile app usage.

We are close to having solutions in place for both. However, with this coming weekend being a revision weekend, we want to hold off implementing those solutions so as to protect the integrity of the revision process.   After revisions are complete, and once full testing of the apps and interfaces are complete, we will turn the apps back on and closely monitor the platform.  We would like to have the apps back online sometime during the week of May 2nd.

More information on how we will restore GHIN Mobile and how we can assist in communicating with your members will be posted the week of May 2.

A similar message was distributed to each of the GHIN Executive Directors via email today.

Thank you once again for your patience and for your continued support of the USGA.

If you have any questions, please contact Fran Nee at (908) 326-1837 or fnee@usga.org.

2016 USGA Handicap System Changes

As you are aware, the USGA Handicap System has made a few changes which will go into effect on January 1, 2016. In order to comply with the changes which relate to Internet score type and Modified Handicap Index, GHIN will be making the following updates to its products.

Internet Score Type

The definition of a score type has been amended by removing Internet (I) designation as internet score posting is a means of posting and not a type.

To comply with this, all scores posted through the internet (mobile app, GHIN.com, GHIN widgets, eGolfer) in a golfers scoring record (including previously posted scores) currently identified by scores type I, AI, TI and CI will be changed to display as H, A, T or C only.

The display will change on GHP Association, GHP Club, GHP Golfer, GHIN.com, mobile app, GHIN widgets, eGolfer and any VASP retrieving score data.

The display change will be moved into production tomorrow 12/17/15. A notification will be sent once this is completed.

On GHP Client, any scores previously posted as Internet (I, AI, TI, CI) and are a part of the scoring record on client, will remain unchanged and display as an I score type. Any new scores posted via the internet and routed to the client will not have an internet (I) designation. If the client club performs a new database download, all previously posted I score types will display as H, A, T or C.

The change to client will be moved into production at a later date. A notification will be sent once this is completed.

Since reporting is a tool used for informational purposes, we have left some ability in place to allow club and SRGA officials to search for and sort scores posted via the internet. This includes both Web Reports and Data on Demand.

Modified Handicap Index

Decision 8-4c/1 Treatment of Player with Temporary Disability – allows the modified Handicap Index to be used outside the player’s home club (i.e., no longer a local handicap).

Decision 8-4c/2, Treatment of Player with Permanent Disability – A player with fewer than 5 scores in their scoring record may be issued a Modified Handicap Index.

Follow the instructions on issuing a Modified Index in the GHP Club Quick Start Guide found on the Info Portal.

If you have any questions please contact GHIN support at (800) 940-8535 x1 or ghinsupport@usga.org.

UPDATE: GHIN Infrastructure Move to Offsite Hosting Facility 3/8/15

8:50 am Monday, March 9, 2015

The relocation of our database to the offsite hosting facility has been successfully completed. We are now in the process of bringing the applications back online through a systematic approach so you may not see all applications working at this time. As the sites are coming online we are validating the connection to the database. We would ask in these early stages to refrain from doing serious file maintenance until our unit testing has been completed.

We will continue to update you throughout the morning.

GHIN Infrastructure Move to Offsite Hosting Facility 3/8/15

We are pleased to inform you that the final acceptance testing has been completed successfully for the infrastructure relocation we had planned to perform in February. As such, we are now prepared to move our remaining infrastructure from the USGA Golf House property to an offsite hosting facility. This move is scheduled to take place starting Sunday evening, March 8 at 9:00 pm EDT and completed on Monday, March 9, 2015.

Based on feedback from year-around SRGAs, we changed the days effected for the move as to impact clubs and golfer less on the very crowded weekends and more on Monday, when many clubs are closed – even though it will impact SRGA usage.

This move will allow all GHIN infrastructure to have improved redundancy and reliability by our hosting provider who will continuously watch and ensure uptime as well as provide support.

What this means for your association, clubs and golfers is there will be no access to GHIN products and services which utilize the main GHIN database during this time. Services impacted for this downtime include GHP Client transmissions, GHIN.com (Post Scores and Handicap Lookup), GHIN mobile app, GHIN widgets, GHP Online Association and Club, eGolfer, eClubhouse, Web Reports, TPP Online registration (Association and Club), TPP Handicap Lookup (Association,  Team Club Play, Club and Client) and posting scores via TPP.

GHP Golfer will continue to allow members to post scores however guest score posting and handicap lookup will not be available during this time.

Appropriate messaging will be displayed on the GHIN applications where available. In addition, all VASP users have been notified of this downtime.

Once systems start to be restored, we will provide notice to you and through the interfaces we have available. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns please contact Ross Galarneault at rgalarneault@usga.org  or (908) 326-1871.

GHIN Strategic Project Development Update

While the re-platforming effort is exciting and dominates many conversations, both inside and outside the USGA, there is other development being executed for GHIN. An update on the re-platforming effort is forth coming, but a dedicated group of staff and consultants are focused on the execution and delivery of our strategic project initiatives that were selected in late 2014 as a needed bridge for users prior to the completion of the new platform. The strategic projects and their current expected delivery dates are as follows:

Handicap Infrastructure Relocation – March 9, 2015
Enterprise Email Delivery Service – Production: Completed
TPP Club Reface – UAT: Complete; Production: March 16, 2015
TPP Club Reports – UAT: Match 2, 2015; Production: March 16, 2015
TPP Viewer – UAT: Complete; Production: Week of March 16, 2015
GHIN Mobile – Club Functionality – UAT: March 16, 2015; Production: March 30, 2015

We are pleased to provide an outline of each of these projects and their current status.

Handicap Infrastructure Relocation

The GHIN Service central handicap database (DB2) and supporting data services currently reside on servers that are located on the USGA campus, however many applications, such as TPP Online, GHIN.com and eClubhouse are located in an offsite hosting service. The USGA needs to ensure the performance and reliability of the core GHIN services are maintained while the re-platforming development is accomplished through mid-2016. In addition to more robust storage and processing capabilities, the offsite hosting service provides advanced full-time monitoring and improved redundancy capabilities.

Originally targeted to be accomplished in January, this extremely complex environment has proven to be very challenging to replicate, while implementing more acceptable industry standards. Two previously planned attempts have been cancelled, when final performance testing failed to exceed the minimum acceptance criteria. It is our belief this migration is important to be able to ensure delivery of high quality performance and reliability. That said; an alternate operations assurance plan will be utilized if we are unable to complete the relocation in March.

Enterprise Email Delivery Service (SendGrid)

Though the new Enterprise Email Delivery Service is now in production, two troubling issues continued to be experienced. The first is an intermittent failure in the creation of about eight percent of the 1.1 million scheduled revision eNewsletters. The development team continues efforts to discover the root-cause of this problem. In the mean-time, active monitoring of this process is performed and all failed emails are being resent.

The other troubling issue is that when an email is rendered and delivered through SendGrid some links within eNewsletters are broken. The previous method in which we sent the emails masked a combination of issues. The WYSIWYG editor currently utilized for eNewsletter seems to hide, as one consultant put it, “very unpleasant html code.” Even when it appears that you have removed content or changed the formatting of text, orphaned HTML code is left behind. Over time, this leftover code builds up and can cause havoc. Even though the eNewsletter looks great in the advance preview, when sent through SendGrid it may render differently and result in broken hyper-links or other erratic formatting issues.

TPP Club Reface

This project solely targeted the TPP Online Clubs application to enhance the look, feel and overall experience for the end user. As of early February we completed the process of updating all 120+/- pages that make up the application. The current status of the application is that we are finalizing our internal QA (Quality Assurance) testing, but have also released to our public UAT (User Acceptance Testing) environment. Our plan is to allow all SRGAs access to this site so that they can begin the process of becoming familiar with the platform or to make presentations to clubs.

Highlights of this project include:

  • Responsive Design – Whether accessing via desktop browser or mobile phone the application detects the screen resolution and adapts accordingly
  • Improved Navigation – We have removed the top menu bar and replaced it with a more modern left-hand navigation pane. Note: While in smaller resolution, the menu is hidden to take full advantage of the screen real-estate
  • Aligned with Club Usage – While much of the functionality between the Association and Club application can be shared, there was a significant amount of functionality that would not apply to clubs, so we made sure to remove these in order to clean up the menu options

 

TPP Club Reports

This was truly a two-part project that encompassed both a redesign of the Reports page and the first iteration of an internally built report designer. Since we merged these projects into a single product, it has pushed back our delivery time slightly. Currently the project is being developed in alignment with the strategic reface project (above) and they will be release altogether.

Highlights of the new Report Menu page:

  • Add over 100 new reports, mainly aimed at club usage
  • Added descriptions and tags to each report that will now allow the user to simply search across all reports to easily identify the report that they wish to run
  • Simplified the favorites selection process
  • Removed the tree structure view, however users can still filter reports down to a certain report group

Highlights of the Report Designer:

  • Ability to edit a report’s description and tags
  • Ability to edit, via our report designer page, specific functions, such as font styling, changing a data field from one to another
  • Saving and running these reports
    (NOTE – Some functionality is available only on reports that are imported by the user.)

TPP Viewer

This is a true replacement application for both the Association and Club versions of TPP Online and we are pleased to announce that the first iteration of the project is now in the UAT environment. While this first iteration only supports individual stroke play events, GHIN plans to enhance the support additional scoring methods in very short order. Since we built this application from the ground up, we were able to utilize feedback from a variety of users, while placing the emphasis on ease of use and improved, professional looking templates.

Highlights include:

  • Simple to use 3-step wizard that has a user up and running in under a couple of minutes, highlighted by a tournament selection filter for most relevant tournaments
  • 4-8 templates that are pleasing to the eye with the ability to run with stock backgrounds or if preferred, upload custom backgrounds
  • Additional branding via the utilization of 2 logos
  • Ability to build out a personal library of backgrounds and logos

GHIN Mobile – Club Functionality

As part of a cooperative development initiative with Metropolitan Golf Association, GHIN engaged the GHIN Mobile app vendor, New Start Mobile, to incorporate optional fee-based club functionality into the GHIN Mobile app as well as develop an updated and more robust management console.

The Club app enhancements to GHIN Mobile provide a highly customized club experience to both GHIN members and non-GHIN members, while maintaining all existing app features for diehard golfers. Associations can strengthen their relationship to clubs by providing a valuable and unique mobile experience for their membership.

The management console is be expanded to provide a single point of control for GHIN staff, association staff, and club staff to customize all aspects of GHIN Mobile. In addition, associations will have the ability to add YouTube videos to their app, creating a rich multimedia channel for their golfers.

The App has been received by GHIN for regression testing and QA evaluation, but most new feature testing is on hold until the new management console is received; expected the last week of February.

Features include:

  • Robust Management Console
  • Club Branding Customizations
  • Integration of Club Providers such as Jonas, FourTees, NorthStar and others
  • Club Directory & Contact Information
  • Club Alerts & Push Notifications
  • Club Photo Gallery
  • Club Social Feeds
  • Club Weather
  • Association Videos

 

GHIN Service Maintenance 6/4/14

On Wednesday, June 4 GHIN will be performing a controlled database failover test. The test will take place starting at 5:30 am ET with an anticipated completion within an hour. A notice will be sent out upon completion.

As a test of our procedures, we will be moving from the current DB2 server to the standby server. This will allow us to validate not only procedures but the responsiveness of the standby server. During this time golfers, clubs and associations will see intermittent service interruptions.

2nd Load Test: Monday, April 29th, 2013 (3:15 AM ET)

Following up on last weeks test, GHIN will be conducting a second load test on Monday, April 29th between 3:15 am and 4:30 am ET with assistance from Neustar and INetU (third-party specialists).

The load test will focus on monitoring the following resources here at Golf House:

  • Production Windows Web Servers
  • Production Apache Communication Servers
  • DB2 Database Server
  • Usage of the 100 megabyte Metro Ethernet Line

Your patience while we conduct this test is appreciated.

Load Testing: Thursday, April 24th, 2013 (3:15 AM ET)

GHIN will be conducting a load test on Thursday April 25 between 3:15 am and 4:30 am ET with assistance from Neustar and INetU (third-party specialists). This load test is part of our ongoing efforts to ensure performance reliability.

The load test will focus on monitoring the following resources here at Golf House:

  • Production Windows Web Servers
  • Production Apache Communication Servers
  • DB2 Database Server
  • Usage of the 100 megabyte Metro Ethernet Line

Your patience while we conduct this test is appreciated.

 

 

GHIN System Upgrade Complete

The upgrades to increase the bandwidth to and from our servers was successfully completed on time this morning with very limited interruption. All online programs are running as expected. If you are experiencing anything different, please contact tech support as quickly as possible, (800) 940-8535 x1.

Again, thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we continue to expand and upgrade our infrastructure.

GHIN System Upgrades 4/19/13

Friday morning, April 19th, GHIN will be performing planned hardware upgrades to increase its bandwidth. This will expand the capacity of information that can be sent and received by our servers;  greatly boosting communication speed. The procedure will begin at 6:30 am ET with an anticipated maximum time of two hours for completion. During the upgrade process, GHIN online products may not be accessible during a brief downtime.

 

Thank you for your cooperation while we elevate our systems to increase capacity.