Golf doesn’t need stories like this.
A group of five black women golfers is accusing Grandview Golf Club in York, Pennsylvania, a club at which they are members, of discrimination for calling the police over a slow play dispute.
The round in question occurred on Saturday, April 21. Five women met up to play a round of golf — they cleared it with a clerk that playing as a fivesome was no issue — and were two holes into their round when former York County Commissioner Steve Chronister approached the group twice to tell them they were not maintaining the proper pace of play, according to the Associated Press.
“I felt we were discriminated against,” Myneca Ojo told the York Daily Record. “It was a horrific experience.”
Chronister’s son, Jordan, a co-owner of the course, was also in the group playing behind the women.
Meanwhile and also on the second hole, Sandra Harrison, one of the women in the group in question, said she spoke with the club pro at Grandview who said there was no issue with slow play because they were keeping pace with the group ahead of them. Even still, the group of women skipped the third hole to aid pace of play and avoid any other issues. Three of the women in the group decided to quit after nine holes.
After the front nine, tempers again flared at the turn. Jordan Chronister, along with his father and other Grandview employees, approached the two remaining women to inform them that they had taken too long to make the turn and would need to leave the course. The women were told that the police had been called to the scene, and as a result, the two women waited to give their side of the story.
“We were called (to the course) for an issue. The issue did not warrant any charges,” Northern York County Regional Police Chief Mark Bentzel said. “All parties left and we left as well.”
Jordan Chronister’s wife, JJ, who is also a co-owner of the course, said she personally called the women to apologize and told the York Daily Record, “We sincerely apologize to the women for making them feel uncomfortable here at Grandview, that is not our intention in any way. We want all of our members to feel valued and that they can come out here and have a great time, play golf and enjoy the experience.”
The course released their first statement on Sunday, a day after the confrontation.
“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. We are disappointed that this situation occurred and regret that our members were made to feel uncomfortable in any way. We have reached out to the members who shared their concerns to meet in-person, to fully understand what happened so that we can ensure it never happens again. Our team is very sorry for any interaction that may have made any member feel uncomfortable. Please know that we are taking this issue very seriously and expect our own organization to meet the highest standards for service that allows for everyone to feel comfortable and welcome.”
Despite JJ Chronister’s apology on Sunday, the course released a second statement on Monday that said in part that staff had multiple conversations with the women and “asked members to leave as per our policy noted on the scorecard, voices escalated, and police were called to ensure an amicable resolution.”
Here is the course’s complete second statement:
“Grandview currently has 2,400 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 the police to ensure an amicable result. 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.”
The women were offered a refund of their memberships but declined.
“It definitely sounds like they’re backtracking,” Karen Crosby, another one of the women involved, said. “I don’t apologize to people I don’t think I’ve wronged. All of a sudden, the message is changing, because we did not consent to the meeting on Sunday.”
The women said they would still be open to a meeting with the Chronisters, but they would like to meet as a group prior to discuss the timing and scope of the meeting. The story has now garnered national news.