A Pennsylvania golf club has released two statements following an incident Saturday that resulted in the police being called in connection with a group of African American club members, all of them women, who were accused of taking too long while playing and refusing requests to leave the course.
The first statement from Grandview Golf Club was issued Sunday. It expressed regret over the situation, stating, "Our team is very sorry for any interaction that may have made any member feel uncomfortable."
The second statement came a day later and seems to have a different tone. There is no apology or mention of regret. Instead, it states: "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."
Carolyn Dow, one of the five women in the group, told the York Daily Record on Tuesday, "I don't know why they changed their story."
The five women — Dow, 56; Sandra Thompson, 50; Myneca Ojo, 56; Sandra Harrison, 59 and Karen Crosby, 58 — are part of a local group known as Sisters in the Fairway, whose members are experienced golfers who have played all over the world, according to Thompson.
On Saturday, the five were on the second hole when they were confronted twice over their pace of play by Steve Chronister, a white man whose son, Jordan, co-owns the club.
"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 York Daily Record. "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."
The women felt their pace was fast enough but decided to skip the third hole anyway. During the customary break following the ninth hole, Harrison, Dow and Crosby decided to leave because they were still shaken up from the earlier confrontation, they told the York Daily Record.
Steve and Jordan Chronister, along with several other white men, approached the remaining group members, Thompson and Ojo, saying they had five minutes to leave and the police had been called. Jordan Chronister told the York Daily Record that the women had exceeded their 20-minute break time.
Thompson recorded video of part of that confrontation and posted it online.
Northern York County Regional Police conducted interviews, then left without issuing charges.
The next day, JJ Chronister, co-owner of the club and Jordan Chronister's wife, issued a statement regarding 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. 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."
The meeting between JJ Chronister and the women has yet to take place. Thompson told the York Daily Record: "We're interested in getting long-term resolution, not short-term resolution. ... We're not looking at surface or quick fixes because surface or quick fixes doesn't fix the mindset of what led to this."
On Monday, JJ Chronister issued a second statement to explain why police were called to the club:
"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 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."
As far as Crosby is concerned, the second statement indicates the club is backing away from its initial apology.
"It definitely sounds like they're backtracking," she 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."
Harrison added: "They are spinning this story. They're grabbing at straws. That's not how to get a resolution. ... All it's going to do is cause more contention."