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Replacing 40,000 tickets with a single app for Ryder Cup

For years, PGA’s event volunteers used a pen and paper system to manage the 7,500+ seats across a major event. They used Glide to build an easy-to-use ticketing system that allowed them to more easily manage capacity and analyze data they’d not had access to before.

22,000

Seats saved by the app during Ryder Cup

7,960

Seats managed across 7 grandstands

Region
United States
Industry
Sports
Data Sources
Glide TablesGoogle Sheets
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Challenge

The Tournament and Events Technology team at PGA organize and maintain the infrastructure to support all of their major championships.

For each event, they build massive grandstands at some of the prime locations around the course. These are first-come-first-serve, so the biggest fans queue for hours to get seats. Once they've got a seat, they can leave, but only by first saving their seat with one of the event volunteers.

For years, the volunteers managed this with a pen and paper system. But with 40,000+ tickets issued at a major event, this process was incredibly time-consuming and error-prone.

Solution

The team had already built 3 apps with Glide after being introduced to it by PGA's Director of Technology.

 
  • Battery Swapper was an app for managing battery swaps in their scoring devices.
  • Lost & Found allowed anybody on-site to easily find or report lost items.
  • Bunker Buddy was a centralized, internal knowledge base for running live tournaments.
 

So in early 2021, when they were tasked with improving and digitizing the ticketing system, they turned again to Glide to build a solution.

Most importantly, for this event, the PGA knew that deploying the app with Glide across multiple devices would be quick and reliable. And, because this was a pilot, if they needed to iterate and make changes, they could do it very quickly.

 
Building with Glide is just super easy. It gives us this really nice-looking UI out of the box. From a developer's perspective, we loved working with it. We can talk about something in a meeting one day, and I can have something distributed the next day.

David Cabrera | Software Engineer, PGA

 

With a tap of a button, the Seat Saver app allowed volunteers to scan a fan’s ticket, log a seat save and tell them a time that they needed to be back.

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Results

The app was a huge success with their volunteers. The fans found the system easy to use, and the volunteers needed next-to-no training.

The app also enabled volunteers to track the number of people in a particular grandstand. This allowed staff to monitor capacity easily and to suggest other locations to fans if somewhere was too full.

All this resulted in lots of data that the team didn't have before, which has helped them analyze the event and helped them guide what they will do in future years.

 
“Every time we have a complex Google Sheets solution or a quick problem we need to solve, now our brains go to, "Can't we just build this in Glide?"

Liz Elliott | Director of Tournament and Event Technology at PGA of America

 

If you’re interested in watching another short film on one of PGA’s other projects, click here.

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