Black women, including York NAACP head, allege discrimination at Grandview Golf Club
A dispute about pace of play at Grandview Golf Course has led to allegations of racial and gender discrimination from a group of African-American women.
The five women, including York County's NAACP chapter president Sandra Thompson, were playing a round of golf Saturday, April 21, at the Dover Township course and were repeatedly confronted, according to a Facebook post by Thompson that had been shared more than 130 times by Monday.
Thompson said former York County Commissioner Steve Chronister, who identified himself as Grandview's owner, first approached the group after they teed off on hole No. 2.
She said Chronister suggested they leave and he would refund their money, but Thompson told him they were members and wanted to continue playing.
The group had started about an hour after their scheduled tee time because of a frost delay, and Thompson said it seemed as if Chronister was trying to blame them — the only female and African-American group on the course — for the club's backlog.
Chronister did not immediately return a voicemail message requesting comment Monday.
Thompson said the group ended up skipping hole No. 3 because of the delay caused by the interaction with Chronister in an attempt to keep pace with the group in front of them.
Three members of the group left after nine holes because of the "wrongful treatment," according to Thompson's post, but the two remaining were confronted again by Chronister and a group of other men before teeing off on hole No. 10.
Thompson shared a video from this exchange, which includes a man who identifies himself as Jordan Chronister, Steve's son and co-owner of the club, telling the women to remove themselves from the premises.
"We've asked you three times now to remove yourselves from the premises, and you have yet to remove yourselves," Jordan Chronister said to the women in the video.
Thompson wrote that police were called, and they waited and spoke to the police, who were respectful.
The police eventually told them that Grandview wanted to cancel their memberships and had checks ready to give them, Thompson said, but they declined, as they wanted an official letter sent to them in the mail describing why their memberships were being canceled.
"Keep covering ... Keep hiding ... keep making excuses and there will never be positive change," Thompson wrote in her post. "This is why 'isms' continue to exist. As long as 'isms' may exist, WE, who stand against it, speak against it, and advocate against it, SHALL PERSIST."
Grandview responded in a Facebook post Sunday, April 22, writing that the members "had an experience that does not reflect our organization’s values or our commitment to delivering a welcoming environment for everyone."
Thompson wrote at the end of her post that JJ Chronister, another co-owner, had reached out to her and the other women in her group to apologize.
In response to a phone call from The York Dispatch, JJ Chronister emailed a statement apologizing for the occurrence and promising to take immediate steps to put proper training and professional development into place for staff and ownership.
"While enforcing the rules of play, an unfortunate situation developed with a group of members playing golf," JJ Chronister wrote. "While our intention was to ensure all teams on the course were moving through in a timely manner, the interaction between our members and our ownership progressed in a manner that was not reflective of our company’s values or expectations for our own professionalism."
She added that, as a female golfer, she recognizes that they have work to do.
JJ Chronister also sent along the club's score card and rules of play, which note that pace of play is monitored and an 18-hole round needs to be completed in 4 hours and 15 minutes or less.
"In the past, players who have not followed the rules, specifically pace of play, have voluntarily left at our request as our scorecard states," she wrote in response to follow-up questions. "In this instance, the members refused to leave, so we called police to ensure an amicable result."
The group was approached twice about pace of play, JJ Chronister wrote, and told to leave, per policy, after taking an extended break following the 9th hole.
Thompson noted in her Facebook post that she got permission from the clerk to play with five people — golf groups are usually limited to four — and they finished the front nine in about two hours.
She also said that they kept the group in front of them in their sights at all times, and the group behind them also took an extended break after hole 9.
The group she was with are all experienced golfers, Thompson said, and they've never been asked to leave a course before.
They had just become members at Grandview recently, and this was their first golf outing of the season.
Grandview was sold last year to BrewVino LLC, an ownership that includes the Chronisters, shortly after the restaurant opened its second location at the course's clubhouse.
The club currently has 2,400 members, according to JJ Chronister.
Thompson said JJ Chronister — who sounded empathetic — told her and the other members of her group that they are welcome back at Grandview, but Thompson said she would need something official telling her that, since police were called, and she doesn't know if all owners at the club want her back.
"It's a tricky situation because I don't like giving my money to people who don't want me,' Thompson said. "But I don't want to give them the benefit of success ... to have reduced the number of African-Americans ... to have reduced the number of women on their golf course."
Moving forward, Thompson said she wants a long-term remedy that would include a community discussion to make sure nothing like this incident ever happens to anyone else.
— Reach David Weissman at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @DispatchDavid.