Just two months on from a helicopter airlift after falling ill on the job, Anthony Williams, Certified Golf Course Superintendent, has been honored as Superintendent of the Year by the Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Association. Williams, 50, is Director of Grounds at Stone Mountain Golf Club by Marriott in Stone Mountain. The award, presented at the association’s annual awards banquet at The King and Prince Resort on St. Simons Island, caps a year in which professional highs bookended a string of personal lows.

Williams, a past president of the association, began the year on a national stage receiving the Excellence in Government Relations Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. But in August, he lost his older brother to a heart attack. In September, Phyllis, Williams’ wife of 29 years, also suffered a massive heart attack. She survived but then 18 days later, Williams himself collapsed and underwent emergency heart surgery to replace an aortic valve and repair an aneurysm.

“We were in the Lord’s hands,” Williams told about 200 people at the awards banquet. “It seemed very unlikely that I would be able to attend the annual meeting. We set a goal to not let that happen. God was good and rehab went well for Phyllis and I. Everything worked out alright. I have never been so blessed to be with you all and soak it all in.”

Williams said the Superintendent of the Year Award was “the highlight” of his 30-plus year career. That’s quite a statement given previous achievements and recognition. He has served on the Georgia GCSA board of directors since 2001. He received GCSAA’s President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship in 2010, was the overall winner of the GCSAA and Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards in 2006 – he was twice a winner in the chapter category – and in 2012 published a book “The Environmental Stewardship Toolkit,” a collection of best practices and ideas for the environmental management of golf courses.

“Anthony Williams personifies the maximum of every criterion we weigh when we consider this award,” Georgia GCSA president, Mike Brown, from The Standard Club in Johns Creek, says. “The work he has done for his facility, for his association, for this profession, and for golf as a whole, establishes a new standard that stands as inspiration and motivation for the rest of us.”