Golf Course Superintendents Association of America
“dedicated to serving its members, advancing their profession and enhancing the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. “
The GCSAA is the leading professional organization for the men and women who manage golf courses in the United States and worldwide. GCSAA’s 20,000 members are comprised of superintendent, assistant superintendent, student, educator, affiliate, and retired classifications. The association has 103 affiliated chapters, with more than 75 countries having a GCSAA member in residence. GCSAA is dedicated to serving its members, advancing their profession and enhancing the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. To meet the commitments set forth in that mission, GCSAA is focused on four strategic initiatives: helping members achieve career success; advocating on behalf of the membership and the profession; providing authoritative information to the membership, the profession and the industry; and providing dynamic and responsive services to the membership, the profession, and the industry.
GCSAA’s requirements were multifaceted. Their mission is to achieve leadership in the Golf industry through making the organization more efficient, and to create major productivity gains through intelligent use of technology. AllofE’s R&D focus in the area of cutting-edge web based technology, as well as their range of experience and expertise, attracted GCSAA’s immediate notice, leading to a partnership resulting in tremendous process efficiencies and a continued growth of the relationship between the organizations. Some of the solutions from AllofE that GCSAA has deployed already are:
- An advanced web crawler and search engine that allows users to access information on all of the GCSAA Web sites from one central location.
- A web portal which allows visitors quick and easy access to a multitude of resources.
- A new version of their staff development program which serves two purposes: recreate the old program as a web-based application, and restructure it to better accommodate expansion and adaptation as needed in the future.
- A set of web analytics reports that helps content creators to focus on the most-used web site areas.
- A weather information center that makes available detailed, up-to-the-minute, and convenient weather information to GCSAA members.
The above solutions extend the value of GCSAA’s existing software environment by leveraging their investment in their current technology architecture. Partnering with AllofE has allowed GCSAA to reduce the time and expense involved in their original in-house developed solutions and has made it possible for them to deploy world-class solutions in a very cost-effective manner.
Intelligent, Efficient, Evolved. An Advanced Search Engine to Match Advanced Needs.
“An advanced web crawler and search engine that allows users to access information on all of the GCSAA Web sites from one central location.”
- Gather the key system requirements to gain a better understanding of the GCSAA’s functional vision.
- Take this vision of a search engine that integrates information from multiple sites and turn it into a technical end result.
- Customize AllofE’s proprietary search engine to perform both web and directory crawling across crawl configurations that span multiple sites.
- Develop interfaces to manage the site configurations, categories of information, crawl configurations, and the look and feel of the search engine.
- Plan and implement the system integration with GCSAA’s existing systems and ensured there was minimal disruption to employees and users.
- The system was fully functioning six weeks after the project’s initiation date.
Visitors to any of the GCSAA sites could now perform a regular or advanced search of all available information on all the sites within only seconds. The search was structured not only to crawl the sites but to make the most of their complicated infrastructure. Rather than letting that structure become a hindrance to search efficiency, the crawler used it to enhance the search functionality. The end result not only saved valuable time for all users, but also allowed them to access information that they might never had been aware of had they not been able to search for it. The sites were so expansive that some form of internal search was needed in order to truly take advantage of all the valuable content therein, and AllofE’s customized web crawler went beyond the need for search functionality to take full advantage of the material at hand, and, despite the complexity of the solution, was up and running within weeks.
Information Made Usable by Organization.
“A web portal which allows visitors quick and easy access to a multitude of resources.”
- Set up a web portal for better categorization and organization of the large collection of information provided to the GCSAA, used for both input and retrieval of all information.
- Build the web portal in such a way as to accommodate a vast online warehouse of resources added to the site by the EIFG (Environmental Institute for Golf).
- Organize the portal to store categorized information covering a wide range of topics such as best management practices, case studies, educational opportunities, and water quality reports.
- Configure the portal to handle all types of resources including documents, web links, and any other foreseeable media type.
The portal provided a system for categorizing the massive amount of information on the GCSAA site, which made it easy for visitors to the site to find what they wanted by following links from general to specific resource listings. The resources could be used by any visitor to the site, but were geared mainly toward golf course superintendents. This provided what the search did not in that it allowed a much greater structured browsing capability – if a user wasn’t looking for any one specific item on the site, but simply wanted to see everything in a given category, the portal allowed them to do that with maximum efficiency and success.
A More Flexible Staff Development Program.
“A new version of their staff development program which serves two purposes: recreate the old program as a web-based application, and restructure it to better accommodate expansion and adaptation as needed in the future.”
- Build a new Staff Development Program that would provide the GCSAA with the ability to track employee performance throughout the year, including relevant details such as accountabilities, annual goals, and competencies, in order to accurately assess employee growth.
- Recreate the tools and interface used by the original system while redesigning the infrastructure to facilitate rapid expansion and addition of new functionality.
- Add new expansions and improvements as requested by the company, and provide the option for doing so on an ongoing basis.
The new web based system replicated the GCSAA’s original console-based software in appearance and process, but the infrastructure of the system had been reorganized so that improvements and expanded functionality could easily be added and customized to meet the users’ needs. This had already been very useful, which allowed users to provide feedback to AllofE about what they would like to see changed about the system, and allowed AllofE to efficiently implement those changes, so that the system was constantly improving.
Statistics for Continuing Research and Improvement.
“A set of web analytics reports that help content creators to focus on the most-used web site areas.”
- Provide a set of useful reports for site administrators and content creators to review.
- Design the reports to display the key web statistics, tracking the following variables on a daily and monthly basis:
- The number of visits to the site.
- The number of visits to each item on the site.
- The number of visits to specific topical areas.
- How long each visitor spent in a given area etc.
- Design an easily accessible, instantly readable graphical interface for the reports.
AllofE expected the GCSAA to reap lasting rewards from their web analytics module in the form of member satisfaction. Visitors to the GCSAA sites would find that the information they needed most and would use most, was precisely the information to which the sites’ content creators had devoted the most time and attention, and was thus the most in-depth and comprehensive. The GCSAA was able to serve the needs of its members and other visitors to its sites better than ever before, and gained a deeper understanding of what visitors to the sites really wanted to see.
Instant Access to Crucial Weather Info.
“A weather information center that makes available detailed, up-to-the-minute, and convenient weather information to GCSAA members.”
- Collaborate with IPS MeteoStar to build a customized weather module for GCSAA’s user portal system.
- Configure the module to allow users to view different levels of detail depending on their subscription level.
- Provide a wide range of weather functionality that focuses on the location or locations specified in the user’s profile.
- Display up-to-date information about current weather, current hazards and warnings, forecasts, and statistics about the climate.
The weather module provided the essential service that helped superintendents plan for inclement conditions. The module allowed them to foresee and schedule around bad weather for any major events on their golf courses, plan for the golf courses to be closed during severe storms, or provide for possible damage to the courses due to other hazardous conditions.
The GCSAA was able to serve the needs of its members and other visitors to its sites better than ever before, and gained a deeper understanding of what visitors to the sites really wanted to see. The weather module provided an essential service that helped superintendents plan for inclement conditions.