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Black woman golfer: "It was like we were playing with targets on our backs"

YORK, Pa. -- One of five black women golfers who were told to leave a Pennsylvania club said Tuesday it felt like they were playing "with targets on our backs." Representatives of the Grandview Golf Club in York told the group at the second hole they were playing too slowly Saturday, said Sandra Harrison.

After the ninth hole, about an hour and 45 minutes later, the group of white men told them they took too long a break and needed to leave. Harrison said she and two other women left because they were so rattled by the treatment.

"It was like we were playing with targets on our backs," she said. "What other reason could there be other than we were guilty of being black while golfing?"

The club called police on the two women who remained. No charges were filed.

Club co-owner JJ Chronister has said she called the women personally to "sincerely apologize."

It's part of golf etiquette that slow-moving players let groups behind them play through if they are holding things up, and often golf courses have employees who monitor the pace of play, letting golfers know when they are taking too long.

The five are part of a larger group of local women known as Sisters in the Fairway. The group has been around for at least a decade, and all of its members are experienced players who have golfed all over the country and world. They're very familiar with golf etiquette, Harrison said.

Normally clubs don't allow groups larger than four. Sandra Thompson told the York Daily Record she was the last member to arrive, and checked with a clerk to see if it was OK to join the four others, knowing a fifth member might be an issue. The clerk said it was fine, said Thompson, an attorney and president of the York branch of the NAACP.

Thompson posted a video on her Facebook page showing the interaction with club co-owner Jordan Chronister, his father, former York County Commissioner Steve Chronister, and several other white, male employees.

In it, Jordan Chronister tells the woman he's been timing them and tells them to leave the premises. The women argued they took an appropriate break, and that the men behind them were still on their beer break and not ready to tee off.

The women were told that the police had been called, and so they waited.

Northern York County Regional Police arrived, conducted interviews and left without charging anyone.

"We were called there for an issue, the issue did not warrant any charges," Northern York County Regional Police Chief Mark Bentzel told the York Daily Record.

JJ Chronister told the newspaper Sunday that she called the women personally to apologize. She said she hopes to meet with them to discuss how the club can use what happened as a learning experience and do better in the future.