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Black women golfers harried off US course

A US golf club has apologised to Sandra Thompson(R) and Sandra Harrison for calling police on them.A group of black women playing golf in Pennsylvania have been run off the course and had police called on them after being accused of playing too slowly.

Sandra Harrison, a 59-year-old retiree, said she was traumatised, rattled and hurt after she and her group were confronted by white men at the Grandview Golf Club on Saturday.

“It was like we were playing with targets on our backs,” Harrison said on Tuesday.

“What other reason could there be other than we were guilty of being black while golfing?”

No charges were filed by police but the confrontation touched a raw nerve after two other somewhat similar incidents in the US.

Two black men in Philadelphia were handcuffed and arrested on April 12 after a Starbucks employee called police because they hadn’t bought anything in the store.

And employees of an LA Fitness club in New Jersey wrongly accused a black member and his guest of not paying to work out and called police, prompting an apology from the company.

Harrison and Sandra Thompson said they were at the second hole when representatives of the golf club told the group they were playing too slowly.

“We knew we snapped those balls and moved right ahead,” Thompson said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Thompson said one of the other women said she was confronted by a man with a posturing, aggressive demeanour who said, “You need to move forward! I’m the owner!”

The group attempted to power through the front nine, Harrison said, but the confrontations made them unable to concentrate on the game.

After the ninth hole, three of the five women headed home.

Thompson figured she and her partner could continue but again they were approached and told to “get off our property” and that police had been called.

Thompson said she was offered a cheque refunding her membership, but refused.

On Sunday club co-owner JJ Chronister told the York Daily Record she called the women personally to “sincerely apologise.”

On Monday, she issued a second statement saying players who are slow typically leave the course when asked by club personnel.

“In this instance, the members refused to leave so we called police to ensure an amicable result,” the statement read.

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

Chronister said she hoped to meet with the women to discuss how the club can learn from the experience and do better in the future.

Australian Associated Press

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