Archive for February 2015

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

 

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.