Billy Skaggs

Certification Program Manager

Georgia Crop Improvement Association

ITGAP History


  • The International Turfgrass Genetic Assurance Program (ITGAP) is a quality assurance program that monitors production sites worldwide to ensure that turfgrasses are grown, inspected and sold under a rigorous set of rules and guidelines.
  • ITGAP was championed by Dr. Earl Elsner, John Hope, and Terry Hollifield in 2000 and instituted by the Georgia Crop Improvement Association.
  • ITGAP is under the umbrella of the Georgia Crop Improvement Association (GCIA) which is the largest certifier of warm-season turfgrasses in the US. Currently, GCIA inspects over 9,400 acres (3,805 hectares) annually.

ITGAP = Quality

  • The International Turfgrass Genetic Assurance Program (ITGAP) is a membership-based quality assurance program by which growers of vegetatively-propagated turfgrasses are guided to produce a true-to-variety product for their clients.
  • Certified turfgrasses are proven performers. ITGAP protects the purity of those grasses against contamination, weeds and other crops during production. The result is:
    • high quality,
    • consistency of performance &
    • confidence in the end result.


ITGAP Benefits

  • Experienced professional inspectors monitor production sites worldwide to ensure that turfgrasses are grown under a rigorous set of production standards.
  • ITGAP is an internationally accepted and recognized verification program for turfgrass production.
  • Golf and sports turf facility owners, architects and designers see ITGAP as a respected source for quality assurance.

The AusGAP / ITGAP Connection

  • Conversations began in 2015 regarding the possibility of bringing new U.S. patented turfgrass varieties to Australia which led to the subject of certification or quality assurance programs.
  • In 2015 – 2016, meetings and visits in the U.S. and Australia took place. In 2017, the first foundation class fields were planted in Australia.
  • During this process, ITGAP determined the size and scope of new turf variety introductions into Australia would require a different approach. In 2018, AusGAP became the exclusive agent for ITGAP in Australia and the surrounding region in.
  • Working hand in hand with us, AusGAP has reached new growers and, ultimately, new turfgrass consumers. In addition, the introduction of TifTuf bermudagrass and Sir Grange zoysiagrass has added value for growers.
  • Now entering its fourth year, the AusGAP certification program has spread across Australia with producers in every state and territory.
  • ITGAP is confident that Australian consumers can have piece of mind that every piece of AusGAP certified sod has been monitored for quality and purity every step of the way.

The Rise of TifTuf

  • Since it’s release in 2015, TifTuf has taken the turfgrass industry by storm. In Georgia, TifTuf was planted on 165 hectares by the end of 2015. Today, we have over 1,000 hectares in Georgia alone.
  • Nationwide, TifTuf is supplanting other varieties:
    • Certified Tifway 419 acres totaled 6,600 hectares in 2015; today it only accounts for 2,600 hectares (60% decline)
    • TifTuf surpassed 5,500 hectares in 2021 with another 300 to 400 hectares expected to be added in 2022.

Why TifTuf?

  • Excellent drought tolerance; uses 38% less water.
  • Excellent late season color retention and early spring green-up.
  • Superior color and density.
  • High resistance to traffic.
  • Fast recovery from wear/tear or drought.
  • Fast grow in – meaning multiple harvests per year.