A Pennsylvania golf club has issued an apology after one of the owners called the police on a group of Black women for allegedly playing too slowly and failing to leave the course when asked.
The women, who are part of a group called Sisters in the Fairway, met to play a round at the Grandview Golf Club where they’re all members. At the second hole, the group was approached by a white man who told them they weren’t keeping up with the pace of play and holding up others.
“I was approached by Steve Chronister, and he said, ‘I’m one of the owners and you need to keep up the pace of play,” Karen Crosby told the York Daily Record. “To me, that was a gross misrepresentation of who he was.”
Steve Chronister’s son, Jordan Chronister, and his daughter-in-law, JJ Chronister, co-own the course
Myneca Ojo, another golfer in the group said Steve Chronister “was extremely hostile.”
The confrontation made the group very uncomfortable, especially when Steve Chronister said he’d refund their money if they left.
“He said, ‘You’re going too slow, I’ll give you a refund,’ as if he didn’t want us as members,” Sandra Thompson, a lawyer and head of York County’s NAACP local chapter said. “I said, ‘Do you realize we’re the only Black women on this course, and you’re only coming up to us? We paid, we want to play.’ He walked off in a huff.”
Thompson said that even though her group wasn’t slowing down other golfers, they decided to skip the third hole, but that didn’t seem to solve the problem.
At the ninth hole, it’s customary for golfers to take a break before moving on to the last nine holes. After being confronted by Steve Chronister earlier, three members of the group decided to leave, while Thompson and Ojo chose to keep playing. However, as the women wrapped up their break, they were approached by Steve Chronister, his son, Jordan Chronister, and several employees and told they had five minutes to leave and that police were on the way.
Ojo whipped out her cell phone and began recording, while Thompson pointed out they weren’t delaying anyone’s game because the golfers behind them were still enjoying their beers.
After being singled out, women felt they were being treated unfairly.
“I felt we were discriminated against,” Ojo said. “It was a horrific experience.”
When police arrived, they spoke to the Chronisters, the women, and others at the scene and left.
“We were called there for an issue. The issue did not warrant any charges. All parties left, and we left as well,” Northern York County Regional Police Chief Mark Bentzel said.
On Sunday, JJ Chronister issued a statement apologizing for the incident.
“Yesterday at Grandview Golf Club, several of our members had an experience that does not reflect our organization’s values or our commitment to delivering a welcoming environment for everyone,” the statement read. “We are disappointed that this situation occurred and regret that our members were made to feel uncomfortable in any way.”
However, on Monday, JJ Chronister issued a second statement once again blaming the women for the confrontation.
“Grandview currently has 2400 members. In the past players who have not followed the rules, specifically pace of play, have voluntarily left at our request as our scorecard states. In this instance, the members refused to leave so we called police to ensure an amicable result,” she wrote. “The members did skip holes and took an extended break after the 9th hole. 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.”
While the co-owners of Grandview initially wanted to meet with the women, Thompson said that isn’t enough.
“There needs to be something more substantial to understand they don’t treat people in this manner,” she said, suggesting Grandview’s staff undergoes diversity training.
This latest incident is just one of many recent examples of white people calling the police on Black people for seemingly insignificant reasons. On Twitter, singer John Legend summed up why involving the police in minor instances can be deadly for Black Americans.
“Please stop calling the police on black people who are just trying to live,” Legend wrote. “Please. Stop. Police shoot us for no f–king reason at all. Please. Stop.”