A Pennsylvania golf club that called the police on five black female golfers on Saturday is defending itself after initially apologizing—somewhat—for making the women feel “uncomfortable.”
Grandview Golf Club attempted to kick the women out of the club and called the police in order to help them do so after accusing the women of not keeping up with the pace of play. At first the club issued lukewarm regret over the situation. On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reports, the Grandview Golf Club released a statement reading, “Our team is very sorry for any interaction that may have made any member feel uncomfortable.” The same day, club co-owner JJ Chronister made sure to tell the York Daily Record that she called each of the women personally to “sincerely apologize.”
That tone seemed to change on Monday, when Chronister issued a second statement that appeared to defend the club’s actions, saying this: “In this instance, the members refused to leave so we called police to ensure an amicable result.”
Here’s more of the statement, from the Times:
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.
Ah, an amicable resolution. The sort of amicable resolution that happened at a Philadelphia Starbucks, perhaps. Or the sort of amicable resolution when the police were called to a Sacramento, Calif., neighborhood last month. You know, the sort of amicable resolution that has endangered, disrupted or outright ended the lives of an uncountable number of black people and people of color in this country.
No charges were filed against the women, one of whom called the entire experience “horrific.”
Myneca Ojo, one of the women golfing that day, told the Daily Record that her group—all members of the club and part of a larger golfing group called Sisters in the Fairway—felt discriminated against. Ojo and the other women present—Carolyn Dow, Sandra Thompson, Sandra Harrison and Karen Crosby—are all in their mid- to late 50s and are experienced golfers who have played all over the world.
According to the women, they were first approached by Steve Chronister, a white man whose son, Jordan, co-owns the club, when they were on the second hole of the course.
“He said, ‘You’re going too slow. I’ll give you a refund,’ as if he didn’t want us as members,” Thompson told the Daily Record. At that point, Harrison consulted with a golf course pro who reassured the women that their pace was fine. The group opted to skip the third hole, given Chronister’s warning, but arrived at the fourth hole to find that the group before them hadn’t even teed off yet.
By the time they reached the ninth hole, three members of the group—Harrison, Crosby and Dow—left because they were “so shaken up by the confrontation,” the Chicago Tribune reports, leaving just Thompson and Ojo. After the customary break following the ninth hole, Thompson says that she and Ojo were approached by Steve and Jordan Chronister, as well as some additional staff. In total, approximately five white men confronted the two middle-aged black women to warn them that they had five minutes to leave before the cops were called.
Thompson recorded some of the interaction, which she shared on Youtube. At one point, Jordan Chronister introduces himself on camera and tells Thompson, “You’re a real winner.” Another man in the frame says, “This is what she wants. This is what she does for a living.”
As Monique Judge wrote for The Root, the video appears to show Grandview Golf Club escalating a situation that required nothing more than patience and a bit of courtesy—the sort that institutions like private golf clubs supposedly revere. Absent in the club’s defense of its actions Monday is the fact that the “voices escalated” belonged mostly to the white male staffers who initiated the confrontation.
On Sunday, JJ Chronister said that she and her husband hoped to meet with the Sisters in the Fairway members to discuss how the club could use the incident as a “learning experience” and getting a “long-term resolution, not short-term resolution.” In other words, after humiliating the black female members of their club, the Chronisters wanted those same women to educate them on how to be better, more inclusive business owners.
It appears that none of the women have consented to a meeting—at least not yet. Thompson told the Record that she hoped the club would go beyond a meeting and enact sensitivity and diversity training. Crosby, meanwhile, hinted that the timing of the club’s defensive second statement was curious.
“It definitely sounds like they’re backtracking,” Crosby told the Times. “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.”