EDITORIAL: We need to have a conversation after Grandview incident

The York Dispatch

There are any number of better ways Grandview Golf Course could have handled the slow pace of play, if that was indeed the concern, on April 21.

Here’s a thought for the owners:

Approach your customers, hat in hand, and say, “Folks, we screwed up.”

Explain that, yes, you approved their party to play with five — that’s on you — but there was a frost delay that morning, and now the course is packed with grumpy golfers piling up at the first tee.

“So we’re looking for volunteers to help us speed things along. Could we please treat your party to lunch and drinks in the clubhouse this afternoon, and then have you back at another time — again, on us, of course — for your round of golf?”

A group of five black women (left to right: Carolyn Dow, Sandra Harrison, Karen Crosby, Sandra Thompson and Myneca Ojo) feel they were discriminated against by Grandview Golf Club after police were called to the Dover Township club Saturday, April 21 over a supposed dispute involving pace of play. (Photo courtesy of Myneca Ojo)

More:Black women, including York NAACP head, allege discrimination at Grandview Golf Club

More:National support for black women asked to leave York County golf course

More:Chief: Police were called to Grandview Golf Course twice

More:'NOT that Grandview': Pittsburgh-area golf club dealing with York course's social media storm

More:Philly senator calls for investigation into York golf course incident

That would have been one approach to try, if the issue was the golfers’ pace and not their race or gender, as appeared to be the case to the five black women singled out.

It appeared to be the case to a lot of people as it blew up across the country last week.

That includes a member of the party behind the women, who’s on record saying their pace was just fine and his group never had to wait for them.

These women don’t sound like duffers.

They’re members of Sisters of the Fairway, a local women's golf group that has been around since 2008 and are familiar with golf etiquette.

They asked for and received permission to play as a group of five — golf groups are usually limited to four — and they kept the group playing ahead of them in their sight at all times, skipping hole 3 to keep up, they said.

Again, there were any number of ways to deal with  an overcrowded course that day.

But we all know how Grandview did handle it.

Former York County Commissioner Steve Chronister, left, stops his son Jordan Chronsiter during a dispute with a group of black women golfers Saturday, April 23, 2018. Screen grab from video by Sandra Thompson.

They zeroed in on these women, and called the police on them.

The women included York County's NAACP chapter president Sandra Thompson, who said they were repeatedly singled out and confronted for slow pace, starting on the second hole, when former York County Commissioner Steve Chronister, who identified himself as Grandview's owner, approached them

She said Chronister suggested they leave and he would refund their money, but Thompson told him they were members and wanted to continue playing.

Three members of the group left before completing 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 the 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 said police were called, and they waited and spoke to the officers, who were respectful. The women left, and no charges were filed.

At one point on the video, Steve Chronister can be heard telling his son to back off, gesturing to Thompson and saying, “It’s what she wants. It’s what she does for a living.”

If by that he means standing up against discrimination — fighting for people who are targeted, scapegoated and treated differently because of the color of her skin — well … yes.

That’s what Thompson does, and thank God for it.

One of her fellow golfers that day was Sandra Harrison, who said she appreciated the viral reaction — which was been swift and brutal — but was sad this was still an issue in 2018.

We agree.

In fact, this black eye to York County was delivered just days after two African-American men were hauled out of a Starbucks in Philadelphia for doing just what white people tend to do — hanging out.

The coffee-maker responded by announcing the closure of more than 8,000 U.S. stores for several hours next month to conduct racial-bias training for nearly 175,000 workers.

What’s Grandview doing in response to its own PR disaster?

Not nearly enough, as far as we can tell.

For her part, Thompson suggested a community dialogue to make sure nothing like this happens again.


It would be even better if Grandview and the Chronisters made it happen.