Management at the Grandview Golf Club in Dover Township (Pa.) called police twice — in two hours — last weekend when a group of African-American women said they faced race and gender discrimination during an incident on the course.
The women — Sandra Thompson, 50; Myneca Ojo, 56; sisters Sandra Harrison, 59, and Carolyn Dow, 56, and Karen Crosby, 58 — had a 10:08 a.m. tee time but were delayed for an hour because of frost on the course. This was their first time playing on the course under a new discounted membership, and the course was packed.
The first call to police came in at 11:24 a.m., Northern York County Regional Police Chief Mark Bentzel told the York Daily Record, after management had an interaction with the golfers. The police then were told they were not needed.
Thompson said she was at the second hole the first time Steve Chronister, whose son, Jordan, and daughter-in-law, JJ, own the golf course, told her she was moving too slow on the course. She said she had no idea that police had been called at that time.
Until Friday afternoon, Thompson, president of the York branch of the NAACP and a former candidate for York County judge, believed police were called once, in early afternoon.
Slow play has been in the news with the recent events at Grandview Golf Club. What is it exactly? And when is playing slow considered too slow. Jim Seip
“I did know that he came to the second hole with the intent to remove us,” Thompson said. “I had no idea he tried to have police do it that time.”
The second call to police came in at 1:26 p.m., Bentzel said.
That’s when a second confrontation occurred while the women were making the turn after the ninth hole. Harrison, Dow and Crosby left because they were shaken up by the first confrontation.
Steve Chronister, his son and several other employees approached Thompson and Ojo. Thompson said they were told they had five minutes to leave, and the police had been called. They also were offered checks to refund the money they paid for a membership to play at a reduced rate.
Police met with the women and the management.
“We determined there was not a police issue,” Bentzel said.
No charges were filed.
‘We just wanted to golf.’
Sandra Thompson submitted a video, claiming that she and a group of her friends were discriminated against at Grandview Golf Club on Saturday. Submitted video
Now that she knows that police were called twice, Thompson said, the situation seems much more egregious.
“They were trying to use police as a business enforcement arm because people were too slow?” she said. “This confirms the ridiculousness of it all. He had no legitimate reason to remove us. He just didn’t want African-American women on his course. He thought we did not belong and wanted to use police to get us off.”
“We just wanted to golf,” she added.
An initial statement from the golf club said that what happened “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.”
But the golf club later defended calling the police in a second statement, and the five women have accused the club of backpedaling.
No one from the Chronister family was at the golf course on Friday. JJ Chronister and Steve Chronister could not be reached for comment.
As the Grandview story continued to gain national attention this week, Thompson said she has been bombarded and struggling with the physical stress of it all.
A bright spot has been an outpouring of support for Sisters in the Fairway, a larger group that the five women belong to. People from all over the country have been reaching out, she said.
“I received a message that said, ‘I never played golf before. Now I want to golf with you all,’” Thompson said.
But Thompson said she hasn’t golfed since Saturday and doesn’t know when she will again. She hasn’t been back to Grandview.
“I’m disenfranchised to even golf at all after all this,” Thompson said.