Wednesday, April 29, 2020

ASGA (Covid-19) April 29th Update and News

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Golf Is Officially Back. Tournaments Later

The Texas Governor announced yesterday some steps toward opening our state. He covered outdoor sports that for now will be limited to 4 players and proper spacing. The examples used were golf and tennis. To many of you that will not produce anything new as you have been playing that way for awhile. The Parks and Recreation leaders are reviewing the parameters and will decide soon when we can begin tournaments of some type for our membership. We currently have no tournaments scheduled until the first Tuesday in June. Your board and membership chairman will do our best to get us back on track soon.

You have read the article about the testing that has been going on for the new Tee Time sign up system. In the near future we will be calling on an even larger group to test the site as though it was live. When you get the email from Paul Redden, we ask you to please support the test and see what you think. We have received a lot of positive comments from the smaller groups that have tested and the number has increased each week. When tournaments return it will be a new beginning for ASGA.  It will be tournament time sooner than later.

On behalf of the ASGA  Board of Directors
Travis McWhorter

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

ASGA (Covid-19) April 22th Update and News

Tuesday, April 21, 2020


1. The on-line tee time sign up system has finished two phases of updates and testing. It is right on schedule to be ready when we return to play. Two more tests are scheduled with increasingly larger test groups. It is really performing well.                                                                                   

2. Unfortunately we have another week to get ready to play golf as we were just advised that we will not be able to hold the tournament scheduled for May 26 at Kizer. Our next tournament scheduled is now set for June 2 hosted by Morris Williams.

3. Gene Payne has passed away. His obituary is below. His wife Bridgette advised me that they intend to celebrate Gene's life as a happy occasion. He really loved golf. Gene had really worked hard this year to learn the systems we use on the ASGA website. I feel he would be very pleased if one of our current ASGA members stepped forward and carried on his work. Paul Redden will give you all the support you need if one of you feels the inspiration from Gene. We will really miss Gene and our thoughts are with his family.

On behalf of the ASGA Board,

Travis McWhorter, ASGA President

Gene Payne Passes

      One of our board members has passed away. Gene Payne was an avid golfer and a longtime member of ASGA.  Gene had served ASGA as a BOD officer from 2009 through 2011 as vice president, president and past president. He had not been a playing member of ASGA for the last few years, however, while not his real area of expertise, he agreed to let his name be entered as a candidate for the new BOD Website Director. He was enthusiastic about the assignment and was making great strides in understanding and handling the details of the operation.
      He went to the emergency room April 7. During his trip to the hospital he was reaching out to ASGA officials to make sure one of his ASGA assignments was completed. After many tests, the cancers discovered and other complicated issues led he and his wife to agree on a predetermined decision to move him to Hospice care Thursday, April 16. Gene passed on Saturday April 18th.  He will be so missed. The brief obituary link below will give you some information and Gene's wife, Bridgette, can be reached at 512-748-1440 should you want to reach out to her for more info. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

ASGA (Covid-19) April 15th Update and News

 Key Points and News                                                                                                                                                               
1. Austin's City Courses announced Tuesday afternoon that they are reopening for limited play officially beginning April 15. The details are on their website. The courses are now taking tee-times for playing under new rules and safety plans. This will not change ASGA currently canceled tournaments. We will be working hard to try and find a way to play a tournament under these guidelines in time for our scheduled 5-26 Kizer event. Details will come to you in the future after we meet with the golf officials.                                                                                                  2. The city has been approached by several members and most recently your General Membership Delegate Lewis Howell to determine how annual prepaid membership programs would be handled. The final determination has not been made, but  the city does plan to find a fair way to make us whole due to lost playing time while the courses were closed. A large portion of our membership does pay for and use a 6 or 12 months prepaid card. Once we know the final outcome it will be published. In the mean time Jack Scruggs our PARD Director will represent us well.
3. Please put Gene Payne, ASGA Website Chairman, in your thoughts and prayers. He has been battling some health issues in the hospital for a week or so.       
4. Paul Redden has been diligently developing code for our new on-line sign up system and has put together a history and future thoughts about ASGA as it relates to this and other technology over the years. See the accompanying article below my sign-off. It is a great read and we really appreciate Paul.
    The opening up of the city golf courses is a positive sign of having our lives back. We are using this time to improve. The committee to bring to life our on-line system for sign up consists of Shawn Higgins, Sam Jenkins, Paul Redden, Bill Burke, Lewis Howell and Travis McWhorter. All members have contributed and are currently working with our latest test. Paul has worked the hardest by far and with his skills in programming he is the most needed. Sam Jenkins has been great at adding his thoughts on systems and editing skills to increase efficiency.       For the record Sam Jenkins recruited me to the board many years ago and one of his goals was an automated system. Later I became the president and was surprised that when I talked to them privately. more than half the board members indicated to me that they did not want a change. We settled for ordering some exploratory software for Paul to examine and put it once again on a "back burner."
     At the conclusion of Paul's most recent term as president he approached me about running for president again. I had served 3 years before, but really felt I had left something undone. Paul said we would all get behind it and together we could get this done. So now with Paul and Sam ready to help us, we can finish what we started with the help of the dedicated committee, the  board and the rest of the membership. We ask you to get behind this new sign up system when it is ready to be implemented and help us make this change to ensure our future. It will not be perfect, but we can make it better as we go forward. This is definitely one way that the time out caused by Covid-19 will pay great dividends for every member of the Association. I certainly believe so.

Travis McWhorter on behalf of the ASGA Board

Paul Remembers The History and Sees The Future of ASGA.

       Since inception the Austin Senior Golf Association (ASGA) has striven to provide an environment for the enjoyment of golf for the collective membership from initial signup to publishing of results.  The operation has evolved from a completely manual operation when the ASGA was founded in 1974, to an email, then text-based website to the current database-driven website. The operation has and continues to be run by an all-volunteer staff of ASGA Board of Directors and other committed members.     
        Advanced technology allows changes and improvements to be realized in a number of areas of the Organization operation.  One area in development for near-term action is a membership email announcement list with the intention of improving communication on notices such as cancellations, tee times/results postings and ASGA News blog notices.  Also the next Board of Director Meeting is being planned to be conducted on ZOOM a virtual on-line system.
        The process for signing up for tee times for ASGA events has been essentially unchanged since the Organization was set up:  Call the course on Wednesday before the next Tuesday tournament or get in line at the course and signup your team or foursome.      
        Signups are taken starting at 7:00 on an alternating basis between in-person and telephone calls. There are typically eight tee times per hour thus the first two hours are taken by the first eight in line at the course and the first eight to get their call answered at the course. Members repeatedly calling in often do not get connected to the course until the calls decrease as tee times are assigned.  This means to ensure getting a desired tee time either get up at 3:00 A.M. and go to the course or get lucky connecting by phone.      
         There has been a lot of discussion over the years and apparently some attempts to change the system, but none were able to succeed.  Many members have expressed increased frustration with the process even to the level of some dropping out of ASGA. Of course there are a few that prefer no changes be made.
          Travis McWhorter outlined to the membership that one of the goals for 2020 was to get the system automation done. The Board of Directors approved the concept and a committee of six was formed to develop an on-line process requesting tournament tee times and is actively being tested now. The intention is to have it ready to go at the first or near the first tournament after we return from the Covid-19 shut down. You will learn more as we go and some of you will participate in part of the preliminary tests.
         Key elements include verification of ASGA membership, a fillable form for one to four members, provisions for requesting a range of an acceptable tee time for the group with a preference on one of three time ranges.  Tee times will then be randomly assigned by an unbiased computer seeking the desired time range as close as possible to the request.
         Our belief is that this process will ultimately result in a better environment for the majority of the membership, save time, be fair and bring us into the 21st century and allow us to grow. We will always be working to improve as we go into the future.

Paul Redden, ASGA Past President

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

ASGA (Covid-19) April 8th Update and News

19th Hole Chat

     The 19th hole is supposed to be one of the most enjoyable in golf. Unfortunately, Covid-19 is trying hard to put a negative on the number 19. This number is even more important to me as I was born on the 19th of November, married on the 19th of April, and even my Dad was born in 1919. So it is with a great deal of determination that I refuse to let the positive side of the number 19 go away.
     It may seem like we are giving in to this virus in that we are announcing today that we will have to cancel more of our ASGA Tournaments scheduled through May 19, 2020. There is no guarantee that we will be able to resume at Kizer on May 26, but we need to remain hopeful. There is one thing we do know. We will return!!
     Listed below are some positive sides of this downtime brought about by this vicious virus.
  1. The world in general is pulling together in an amazing way to hold sickness and death to a minimum.
  2. People have come together all over the world to do their part and to reunite in a positive way. We seem to be pulling together in the Country, State and Cities in a united front.
  3. We have more time to talk to our loved ones.
  4. We have time now to do all those home projects we've been putting off.
  5. Many creative ideas have popped up all over to fight the virus and to support our first responders.
  6. Even ASGA has taken this downtime to put the finishing touches on a much improved sign-up system to replace the Wednesday morning busy signal mania called “getting tee times for the Tuesday Tournament.” Our ASGA team is working on the sign-up program and will be testing it soon and will do their best to have it ready when ASGA golf returns.
     Additionally, scientists are working on a cure and a vaccine leading to the greatest celebration ever as Covid-19 becomes one of the stories we tell for generations to come. In the future as we sit around the 19th hole we will be telling the next generation how we kicked Covid-19 dead in its tracks back in the day.
     We will then say to our new ASGA members, at the youthful age of 62 or so, can you believe it, when we eliminated the virus we also stopped having to call on a phone for hours and hours every Wednesday trying to get tee times for our foursome?
     You might say we put the fun back in the 19th hole and dug a big ole hole for Covid-19. Keep your family and friends safe.

Travis McWhorter on behalf of the ASGA Board

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

ASGA Board and Committees Remain Active During Crisis

President Trump and Governor Abbott have extended the shelter-in-placeorders through the month of April and we are fully expecting Austin to
do the same  soon. We currently have at least 2 more tournaments
canceled and will update how many will be added with the update next

Your board is very much wishing that you and your family are finding
what you need at the grocery stores and are staying healthy. We did want
to advise you that we are taking advantage of this stay at home time and
working on achieving one of our annual goals. As a matter of fact this
goal has been talked about for years but this time we plan on getting it
done. The committee, I am chairing, is working diligently on an online
sign-up for tee times. Several  members have contributed ideas and
process plans to move us in the direction of having a mock sign-up with
the committee members to see what tweaks we may need soon. Following
that we will test again with the entire board and another person or two
from outside the board. We are then planning on utilizing it in a full
tournaments shortly after we reopen for business. We will properly
announce and have an easy to follow operating guide on our website
before that tournament. I will share with you the names and what all of
our team is doing and will have done when we complete the project and it
works greatly.

For the record we are doing this project for our normal pay with no
overtime expected. Oh wait! We do not get paid. We are doing it for the
love of golf and making ASGA an even greater association when we come
back. We will be back playing and having fun again soon.

Travis McWhorter on behalf of ASGA Board