The Good Place: A peek inside Legacy Turf Farms

The Shaw family has been well known in the Northwest Georgia corridor for over 60 years in the flooring business. However, not many people outside of Cartersville, Georgia know the Shaw family enjoys farming as well.

“Legacy Turf Farms is proud of our history dating back over a century. We believe our land is a special part of the Cartersville community and the turfgrass industry,” said Lee Shaw, CEO of Legacy Turf Farms.

The story

A distant relative named James Shaw owned land in Bartow County adjacent to the Etowah Indian Mounds. His property was fertile row crop farmland located in Cartersville, Georgia. James was the patriarch of this land, which had been in his family for over 100 years. In the 1970s, J.C. “Bud” Shaw told James if he ever wanted to sell this land, Mr. Shaw would like to buy it. James Shaw was a quiet, reserved man and he was not interested at the time. Fifteen years later, James called Mr. Shaw, saying he knew that he would do the right thing with the land: preserve it. Shortly after their conversation, Mr. Shaw bought the land from James and the sod farm’s story began.

When this land was added to the family’s various business interests, it was important for Mr. Shaw to follow through with his promise to preserve these fields adjacent to the historic Etowah Indian Mounds. He wanted to keep it for green space, preserving the archaeological significance and heritage as a farm in the community. Being next to the Etowah River, the fertile land had a sandy soil mix and access to water. Mr. Shaw also wanted to continue farming the land. He loved golfing and owned golf courses in Atlanta and throughout North Carolina at the time. Through his many contacts in the golf industry, Mr. Shaw thought growing turf would be a viable way to keep the farm business thriving. Starting in 1999, Legacy Farms began sprigging bermuda.


For 12 years, the farm grew and prospered, selling primarily Bermuda to the new construction market. As the turf industry evolved, Legacy added zoysia grass to its mix of products.

Providing zoysia grass to meet the demand of customers also meant having new turfgrass technology in the farm’s toolbelt.

  • Zoysia grasses have been bred to be drought-tolerant and shade-tolerant.
  • Zoysia boasts many other aesthetic features that Tifway 419 doesn’t, such as producing a lush, dense lawn.

While still a fine grass to install, the dated technology behind 419 does not compare with the newer hybrids of zoysia and bermuda.

Legacy Turf Farms sprigged Geo®, EMPIRE® and Meyer zoysia in the fields. Adding zoysia continued the heritage that Mr. Shaw wanted, which was to be a good steward of this land.

“Where Good Land Begins”
Levi Shaw was so proud of his land, he created a sign telling all of Bartow County that his farm was the best in the county. The sign, now at the entrance to Legacy Turf Farms, shows anyone entering the farm how proud Lee Shaw is of this land today.

There is a small sign on the farm property. It is a green and yellow sign, similar to vintage gas station signs. That sign was owned by another distant relative, a cousin, named Levi Shaw.

His family had been farming land in Bartow County, near Ladd’s Farm Supply’s current location, since the late 1800s. Levi was so proud of his land, he created a sign telling all of Bartow County that his farm was the best in the county. Before Levi passed away, he gave the sign to Mr. Shaw, knowing there would be a good place to plant that sign one day.

Mr. Shaw wasn’t sure where it had been stored for 30 years, but upon retiring as chairman of Shaw Industries in 1996, he made sure to bring that sign home with him. The sign shows anyone entering the farm how proud Mr. Shaw is of this land. Upon entering Legacy Turf Farms, the little sign reads, “Where Good Land Begins.”

Looking forward

Legacy Turf Farms continues to reinvest in the land and the turfgrass business. In the next two years, Legacy will be doubling the Geo Zoysia acreage, as well as adding significant acreage in a new bermuda hybrid, Tahoma 31.

In addition to needing less than half-a-day’s sun, Tahoma 31 Bermuda is also more drought tolerant than its competitors. It has proven to green up earlier in spring than other grasses in national trials. Tahoma 31 turf grows densely, heals quickly, and is ideal for residential and commercial use.

Taking advantage of the newest technology, Legacy Turf Farms is excited to offer an ever-growing mix of products to consumers who are looking for new grasses that are shade-tolerant, drought-tolerant, and require less maintenance.

“We continue to update our equipment, using automated harvesters that are faster and more consistent at producing high-quality sod. We strive to offer customers our best service and quality in every pallet that leaves the farm,” said Stewart Keith, Farm Superintendent at Legacy Turf Farms. “From our fast turnaround time to our freshest cuts being delivered, we want to grow this business for another great 20 years.” The farm still operates on the same spot today, in the shadow of the Etowah Indian Mounds, on the proud land of Mr. Shaw’s family.

Legacy Turf Farms is still family-owned and operated. Having served the greater Atlanta and Northwest Georgia market for over 20 years, Legacy plans to remain where the good land begins.

This article was written by Emma Johnson, Legacy Turf Farms.

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