Five African-American women say they were subject to racial and gender discrimination after a man claiming to be the owner of a golf course called the police on them for playing too slow.
According to a Sunday report by the York Daily Record, Sandra Thompson; Myneca Ojo; Sandra Harrison, Carolyn Dow; and Karen Crosby were initially told they weren’t keeping up with the pace of play by Steve Chronister, apparently the self-professed owner of Grandview Golf Club in Dover Township, Pennsylvania. (As it turns out, Steve Chronister is not the club’s owner, but apparently serves in some sort of an advisory role, according to a statement from Grandview’s co-owner. He is also a former York County commissioner.)
Then the women were given another excuse: that they took too long in between the first and second halves of the golf course. After the second excuse, the women were asked to leave, offered a refund on their membership fees, and the police were called on them. They didn’t buy the excuses, believing the treatment to be racially motivated.
“I felt we were discriminated against. It was a horrific experience,” Ojo told the Record.
After that experience, three of the women left because they felt traumatized by the alleged harassment. When police finally arrived, only Thompson and Ojo remained to tell their side of the story. In the end, no one was arrested, no charges were filed, and everyone simply left the golf course.
Northern York County Regional Police Chief Mark Bentzel said, “No result on our end, no action. We were called there for an issue. The issue did not warrant any charges. All parties left, and we left as well.”
In video of the confrontation posted by Thompson, a group of white men can be seen and heard accosting the remaining members of her group. A man in sunglasses–who identifies himself as Jordan Chronister–frequently mocks the women as they protest the treatment they’ve received.
Grandview’s actual co-owner, JJ Chronister–Steven Chronister’s daughter and Jordan Chronister’s wife–released a statement on Sunday expressing regret over the turn of events. She said:
[The incident] does not reflect our organization’s values or our commitment to delivering a welcoming environment for everyone. We are disappointed that this situation occurred and regret that our members were made to feel uncomfortable in any way.
A second statement from JJ Chronister on Monday, however, took a slightly different approach: reiterating the original complaint made against the women by her father and others at the scene. This second statement read, in part:
We spoke with them once about pace of play and then spoke with them a second time. During the second conversation we asked members to leave as per our policy noted on the scorecard, voices escalated, and police were called to ensure an amicable resolution.
The younger Chronister also says she reached out to all of the women who were asked to leave and wanted to meet with them in order to make sure nothing similar to their experience happens again. The women declined the Sunday meeting but were open to meeting sometime in the future.
In response to the offer, Ojo said, “[T]here’s no new development; we’ll let her know. We just haven’t figured out the time, the approach … It does need to come to some conclusion.”
The women who were singled out are members of a York County women’s group known as Sisters in the Fairway. The decade-plus-old group is comprised of experienced female golfers who have played at golf courses across the country.
[image via screengrab/video courtesy Sandra Thompson]