GHIN eNewsletter

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

 

eNewsletter Delivery Failure 2/15/15

As many of you know, we moved our email services to an outside agency (SendGrid) within the last month. Overall the move has been successful however we did have an issue come up with the February 1 eNewsletter where a large number of errors (mail not sent) occurred over various association sites. The GHIN staff worked on resolving that issue in time for the February 15 eNewsletter delivery this morning but unfortunately did not see the desired results.

We have since successfully emailed those affected golfers your eNewsletter. When you are reviewing your February 15 bulk mail statistics please look at both delivery statistics within your association for February 15. Please note some associations were not impacted.

We will continue to make this a top priority and work to have a resolution in place for the March 1 eNewsletter delivery. If you have any questions please contact Fran Nee at fnee@usga.org or (908) 947-6110.

eNewsletter New Enterprise Delivery Service – SendGrid

As was discussed at the GHIN Users’ meeting in November and review webinar in December, we have completed the implementation and testing of our new enterprise email delivery service (SendGrid) that will be utilized for eNewsletters and other ad hoc email delivery needs.  Production eNewsletters for two SRGA’s were sent via SendGrid on January 15th and the process worked flawlessly.  All production ad hoc emails (TPP, eClub, web reports) are now being sent via this service and starting on February 1st, all eNewsletters will also be sent via SendGrid.

This change to an outside service will allow for reliable delivery and will include SendGrid’s expertise on:

  • Manage whitelisting
  • IP address reputation score
  • Email authentication/validation

Please note that this does not impact how you create or schedule your eNewsletters, and does not change the portal to view newsletter statistics.

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

eNewsletter Scheduling for 2014 COMPLETE

eNewsletter scheduling for the 2014 season is complete.

The list below shows those associations that do not use the GHIN eNewsletter Manager or have asked for scheduling modifications.  If your association is in this list and shouldn’t be – please let Lisa Gooley know ASAP.  lgooley@usga.org

It is also important to log into the GHIN eNewsletter Manager and ensure you have an “active” template selected.

ASSOC SUB NOTES
1 1 Jan – March: Only on the 1st of Month
1 6 Jan – March: Only on the 1st of Month
2 6 Does not use eNewsletter
8 6 Does not use eNewsletter
38 6 No revisions in Dec, Jan or Feb
47 6 Not on schedule, but sometimes manually sends out newsletter on revision days.
56 6 Does not use eNewsletter

eNewsletter Scheduling for 2014

During the week of December 16th we will be creating the 2014 eNewsletter schedule. Please look at the list below to make sure your association is properly listed.

Those associations with a “Y” in the “Using eNews?” column will be added to the schedule on the 1st and 15th of each month. Those with a “no” will not.

If your association has special exceptions for the beginning of the year that are not listed or have changed, or if your association should or shouldn’t be on the schedule, please notify Lisa Gooley (lgooley@usga.org) by Friday, December 13th.

Thank you for your prompt attention.

Lisa Gooley

EREV-SCHEDULE

 

eNewsletter Bulk Mail Statistics Purge – Sept. 6th, 2013

On 09/06/2013, eNewsletter Bulk Mail Statistics for the years 2010, 2011 & 2012 will be purged.  Please take this opportunity to obtain the information needed for your records.

We have a backup of the data and can provide you with statistics for this time period on request.

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

 

eNewsletter Reminder – Word HTML Issues

As you prepare your revision mailings, we wanted to send out a gentle reminder regarding content copied from Word documents and pasted into the eNewsletter Manager’s HTML editor.

MS Word utilizes large amounts of “hidden markup,” which is HTML coding used to keep track of all types of document formatting and attributes.  Unfortunately, “Word HTML” doesn’t always translate into “standard HTML”.  When text is copied from a Word document and pasted into the eNewsletter Manager this hidden markup is copied as well and because Word uses its own version of HTML (highlighted below in teal) the eNewsletter Manager cannot always process parts of the markup properly.  You can see the MS Word code by clicking on the bracket icon at the bottom left of the editor (circled in red in the image below).

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As a result, the styling and spacing that worked marvelously in your Word document will behave very poorly in the eNewsletter Manager. The areas outlined in red boxes in the image above show formatting that will need to be corrected.

What’s worse is that even if you delete the content a lot of bogus code is left behind which will continue to cause issues down the road.  This is especially true if you are making a copy of the last mailing and using it to create a new one.  The image below shows the “leftovers” in HTML view after deleting the content.

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What is the Solution?

To resolve this, a special paste button called “Paste from Word” can be used when pasting MS Word content into the eNewsletter Manager.  This tool must be used when copying content from a Word document as it “cleans” the MS Word content being pasted.

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When using “Paste From Word”, the content may require re-formatting work as the tool will remove the Word HTML it isn’t compatible with.   This step can be avoided if the editor in the eNewsletter Manager is used to create the content.

To show you what we mean, the image below shows the same content used in the example above, only it was pasted using “Paste from Word” in the editor.  You will have to do some formatting, but none of the bogus background markup is carried over.

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The image below shows the HTML code view.  As you can see, only valid HTML markup exists – none of the MS Word code is carried over.

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Thank you ahead of time for using the “Paste from Word” functionality – and if you need any assistance, please don’t hesitate to call GHIN Technical Support, (800) 940-8535 X1 or email at ghinsupport@usga.org.

Web Ed: Highlighting Features of eGolfer

GHIN is pleased to announce the topic for the July Web Education session will highlight features of the eGolfer program.

Two sessions will be held Monday, July 29, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. (ET). eGolfer offers an array of items for the individual golfer pertinent to their scoring record. Some of the options available to the individual golfer include a quick post option using tee information already recorded from a previous score, ability to enter individual hole by hole statistics, reporting capabilities on the hole by hole statistics and even the selection of gathering a list of all scores posted by a custom date range. eGolfer is another added member benefit as a part of your GHIN service to the individual golfers of the associations.

See the information below on how to login and attend either of the two sessions.

11 a.m. (ET) Session Link and conference call information:

Go to: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/join/611637055

Join the conference call: (877) 309-2070 or (626) 521-0017

Access Code: 611-637-055

Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

2 p.m. (ET) Session Link and conference call information:

Go to: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/join/130304311

Join the conference call: (866) 899-4679 or (626) 521-0016

Access Code: 130-304-311

Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

 

For those unable to participate, the session will be recorded and posted to the USGA Info Portal for review.

eNewsletter Issues – (4/1/2013)

It has come to our attention with the revision on April 1st, the Course Handicap widget used in your eRevision newsletters may not be providing accurate information. In some cases the Course Handicap will display as a 0 or NH, or in other cases the course information displayed is completely unrelated to the golfer. We are in the process of determining the cause of this problem and will report back once we have resolved the issue.

We apologize for any inconvenience this might be causing at your association.

eNewsletter Scheduling for 2013

During the week of December 17th we will be creating the 2013 eNewsletter schedule. Please look at the list below to make sure your association is properly listed. Read the rest of this entry »