Growing in rural Georgia: Turfgrass

By Loren Lindler

Photo credit: Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

You've probably heard that the grass is always greener on the other side, but, no matter where you go in rural Georgia, the turf is always green.


The turfgrass business in Georgia is growing, literally. Turfgrasses grown in the state cover a number of golf courses, athletic fields, and lawns across the world. As part of Georgia's agricultural industry, turfgrass has more than a $1 billion impact on the state's economy annually.


Though turfgrass grows all over the state, it is primarily grown in the following counties:

  1. Macon ($25,025,000)

  2. Carroll ($10,010,000)

  3. Gordon ($8,690,500)

  4. Sumter ($8,190,000)

  5. Peach ($7,735,000)

  6. Cook ($7,330,050)

  7. Bartow ($6,156,150)

  8. Bulloch ($5,460,000)

  9. Dougherty ($4,322,500)

  10. Tift ($4,004,000)

In 2019, Tift County accounted for more than $4 million in turfgrass production. In fact, some of the turf traveled just a few miles down the road to Tifton's Forest Lakes Golf Club, owned by the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) Foundation and managed by ABAC.


The golf course prides itself in its 18-hole course covered in Tifway 419 and Tifdwarf, two Bermudagrasses that were developed by researchers at the University of Georgia Coastal Plain Experiment Station (now the UGA Tifton Campus) in the 1960s.


Tifway 419 is known for its rapidly spreading growth, meaning quick recovery from injury. Coined as one of the most durable hybrid Bermudas, Tifway 419 has been the most popular sports turf for the last 50 years.


On the other hand, Tifdwarf is popular among golf courses, bowling greens, and tennis courts. With its finer blades, it is highly adaptable to heat and heavy traffic.


It is certainly no surprise that turf is a big business in rural Georgia. Athletes have been playing on Georgia grown and developed turf for decades now, and as that number continues to grow, rural Georgia remains key in the future of the turf industry.