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Monday, August 6, 2012 - 5:05am

Georgia Partners With Cuba

Georgia-bred grass could soon blanket golf courses in Cuba. Researchers at the University of Georgia are working with their counterparts in the island nation to make that happen.

UGA scientists visited a start-up research program at the University of Matanzas in Cuba. Researchers there are trying to develop grasses that will thrive on 20 Cuban golf courses to be built over the next decade.

UGA Turfgrass specialist Clint Waltz says testing Georgia grass in Cuba and collaborating with scientists there could benefit their research as well with Cuba’s 12-month growing season. But political differences pose challenges.

“The hurdles on this being able to transfer plant material are going to be high hurdles to get over, but we would like to be involved as Cuba continues to change and evolve and then who knows, hopefully one day relations will change between our governments and we want to be right there on the ground floor.”

UGA’s Turfgrass research program is over 50 years old. The industry contributes $7.8 billion a year to Georgia’s economy.