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John Reitman

By John Reitman

Industry partners give a leg up to education, research, extension at University of Georgia


Companies throughout the turf industry came together to help fund construction of an athletic field and research putting green at the University of Georgia Griffin campus. Photo by University of Georgia

Turfgrass is big business in Georgia. It covers 1.8 million acres across Georgia, making it one of the largest agricultural commodities in the state. The industry also employs more than 100,000 people and has a maintenance value of $1.56 billion.

Scientists at the University of Georgia have played a key role in supporting and promoting the state's turfgrass industry through research, education and extension work. In a show of support, several companies throughout the turf industry have come together to fund construction of a research putting green and soccer field at the university's Griffin campus. Both were constructed with turf varieties developed at the UGA campus in Tifton.

"The need was being sensed by the industries for new and updated equipment and infrastructure," said Alfredo Martinez-Espinoza, UGA cooperative extension plant pathologist. "With the high quality of work UGA turfgrass faculty have done with them over the years, the companies viewed UGA-Griffin as a prime partner for these projects."

Bayer Environmental Science funded construction of a 9,600-square-foot TifEagle green built to USGA specifications and will be used for research and educational purposes. 

The 22,000-square-foot sports-field research and education area built as a soccer field with primary funding by Sports Turf Co., and was sprigged with Tifway Bermudagrass, which is the same turf used in the university's football stadium.

The field will allow faculty and students to perform research, education and extension. It will also be available for play to the local community.

Other companies that came together on the project, that began in 2020, include Green Tee Golf Inc., NG Turf and Pike Creek Turf.

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