The confrontation follows a spate of similar confrontations among businesses, their customers or members, and the police. From the arrests of two African American men at a Philadelphia Starbucks to a 911 call made on two African American men working out at a New Jersey gym, the incidents have reignited racial tensions in commercial spaces and cast scrutiny on how law enforcement and companies respond.
“I felt we were discriminated against,” one of the women, Myneca Ojo, told the York Daily Record. “It was a horrific experience.”
The golf club, represented in a video interview by co-owner JJ Chronister, has since apologized. She does not appear to have been present during the confrontation but told the Daily Record she had personally contacted each of the five women and hoped to “use this as a learning opportunity” for the owners and their employees. The club did not return a request for comment by The Post.
Golf has also historically struggled to include and advance African Americans, from elite athletes to amateur players. In his book about winning the 1997 U.S. Masters, Tiger Woods wrote of how golf has long been an unwelcoming and uncomfortable sport for black people.
And it was only in 2012 that Augusta National, one of the most exclusive golf clubs in the country and that hosts the Masters, admitted its first female members.
Sandra Thompson, another of the women who is also the president of the York chapter of the NAACP, told the Daily Record that her group was set to tee off at 10:08 a.m. Saturday but was delayed for almost an hour because of frost on the course. Thompson said a clerk at the course said the group could play with five players, as opposed to a more traditional group of four or fewer. Thompson did not immediately return a request for comment by The Post.
After completing their second hole, Ojo and another woman in the group, Karen Crosby, said they were approached by Steve Chronister, who told them he was the owner of the club and that the women needed “to keep up the pace of play.”
“He was extremely hostile,” Ojo told the York Daily Record.
JJ Chronister said her father-in-law, Steve, is not an owner of the club but instead serves in an advisory capacity.
Also at the second hole, another woman in the group, Sandra Harrison, talked with a golf course pro who said the women were keeping a fine pace.
Steve Chronister approached the women again to tell them to hurry along. Thompson said they had kept the group ahead of them within their sights the whole time, as is consistent with golf etiquette.
Thompson said Chronister told them: “You’re going too slow. I’ll give you a refund,” suggesting he didn’t want the women as members.
“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,” Thompson told the York Daily Record.
The group skipped the third hole, only to arrive at the fourth hole behind a group that had not yet teed off, Thompson said.
When the women reached the ninth hole, three of them — Harrison, Crosby and Carolyn Dow — left because they were so shaken up by the confrontation. Thompson said that she and Ojo were then approached by Steve Chronister and his son, Jordan Chronister, who is JJ’s husband.
The Chronisters, along with other employees, told the women they had five minutes to leave and that they had called the police. They were also offered checks to refund their memberships.
Crosby told the York Daily Record that Jordan Chronister was “aggressive, confrontational and condescending.”
Jordan Chronister told the women that he had timed them on their break and that they had gone beyond the 20-minute time cap. Yet Thompson noted that the women were also told they had been timed as being on the first nine holes for one hour and 45 minutes. The course rules allow a total of four hours and 15 minutes — suggesting the women would have had time to spare if they kept their pace for the last nine holes.
In videos posted by the York Daily Record and by Sandra Thompson on YouTube, a man who identifies himself as Jordan Chronister tells the women he had been timing them while they took a break from 12:45 to 1:28. He speaks over a woman who is asking him to explain why her group was approached. Chronister also laughs at the woman and assumes a mocking tone. At one point, Chronister is told by another man in the frame to “let the police handle it.”
Chronister then turns toward the camera and tells the women to leave the course in the next five minutes and that the police have been called. The other man in the frame tells Chronister that “this is what she wants. This is what she does for a living.”
The woman filming says she doesn’t understand why they were asked to leave the course.
“What was the confrontation? You came to us,” she said. “We were trying to tee off and five of you men came up to us.”
Northern York County Regional Police Chief Mark Bentzel told The Post that when the officers arrived, they learned the reason they were called was because of a dispute between the club’s management and the golfers. After talking with both groups for about 20 minutes, “we determined this was not something that the police department needed to be involved with.”
“We determined this was not a police matter, and we left,” Bentzel said. “Other than people offering their opinion back and forth, there were no problems. No need for us to be there.”
Officers from the Northern York County Regional Police arrived and left without filing any charges.
Bentzel said he could not comment on whether the conversation between the club’s management and the golfers had any racial undertones. He was not aware of any other similar 911 calls made by the club.
In a second statement released Monday, JJ Chronister said that 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. … During the second conversation we asked members to leave as per our policy noted on the scorecard, voices escalated, and the police were called to ensure an amicable resolution.”
JJ Chronister told the York Daily Record that her family was 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 mind-set of what led to this.”
Thompson told the York Daily Record that she was hoping for sensitivity and diversity training — not just a meeting with the golf club.