Disc Dispatch — Disc Golf Event Newsletter
This year I’ve started playing a lot more disc golf — something I am sure is evident from some of my projects this year. As part of that, I’ve been participating in some tournaments and pop-up events around the Greater Vancouver Area. They’ve been a ton of fun! I even won my first tournament — although I only had 1 opponent in my division.
There’s only one source for finding Disc Golf Competitions — Disc Golf Scene. The site is run by the PDGA and offers simple discovery and registration features. Its biggest flaw: it’s heavily region based. For example, I can see a listing of everything happening in British Columbia, Canada but not any events happening just over the border in Washington, USA. There’s also no functionality for getting updates on these events as they launch; you just need to check the website regularly to learn about events.
I’ve wanted to build an automated newsletter solution for a while now, so this was a great way to get my feet wet! I’m also excited that I can give something back to the disc golf community too.
The PDGA offers an excellent API for looking up information about events across North America, which is the backbone of this solution. It allows me to look up events across every region and find what’s nearest to each subscriber based on latitude and longitude.
The user experience I was looking for was as simple as possible — Visit the website, enter your US ZIP Code or Canadian postal code, enter your email address, and that’s it! I’ve added some basic customization, like the range around you that you want to see events from.
For now, the email and website are staying pretty basic, using out-of-the-box designs available with some light customization for my needs.
I’ve been loving building projects using Laravel with Livewire. It’s so quick and flexible to get some light interaction systems available. I had the basic version of the website working in a few hours.
I got the chance to use some new functions in Laravel that I hadn’t used before, primarily Signed URLs. These are a great addition to Laravel that make it incredibly easy to add gated subscription confirmation and unsubscription buttons without having to worry about any added security.
Emails are being sent with Amazon SES because it’s just the absolute cheapest option out there. Even with 10,000 subscribers and a weekly newsletter, it will only cost $40. On the other hand, a mailing list software like Mailchimp would cost over $150 for the same number of subscribers.
I’d love to expand the type of events available and offer more customization to subscribers regarding what kinds of events they’re interested in. Pop-up courses, league matches, etc., are all prevalent in the Disc Golf community and need one good centralized source for information. So today, I just follow the various Greater Vancouver Area disc golf communities on Instagram to hear about upcoming events. Shout out to my fantastic local club, the Vancouver Disc Golf Association!
Part of my 2022 Year of ProjectsThis post is part of my 2022 Year of Projects! You can read about the project or check out the other posts below.
- January - A Crypto Skeptic makes an NFT
- February - Building a Ski Resort API
- March - Prototyping a Disc Golf Pannier Bag
- April - Unlimited Sparkling Water from the Tap
- May - Scraping Last Minute Film Festival Tickets
- June - Adding YouTube Subscriptions to Plex
- July - Adding Post Thumbnails and Having Fun with DALL-E 2
- August - BCFlights - A Regional Flight Search Engine for British Columbia
- September - Manufacturing a Disc Golf Pannier Bag
- October - Disc Dispatch — Disc Golf Event Newsletter