Manistee’s Elo to play golf at Northern Michigan

Manistee senior Tiffany Elo (above) has committed to play golf at Northern Michigan University. Elo (below) signs her letter of intent at a recent ceremony held at Manistee High School. Pictured (left to right) in the front row: Manistee golf coach Bridget Warnke and Elo. Back row: father Frank Elo and mother Linda Elo. (News Advocate file photos)

For many, golf can be a lifelong hobby, and it’s safe to say that will be the case for Tiffany Elo. The sport is simply in her genes.

The Manistee senior, however, has earned an opportunity many golfers don’t see in their lifetime: a chance to play competitively at the collegiate level.

In front of friends, family and classmates during a recent ceremony at Manistee High School, Elo signed a letter of intent to continue her golf career at Northern Michigan University.

“Oh, it’s really exciting,” Elo said. “My dad would always mention college golf to me, and it was kind of just one of those dream things that you didn’t think would actually be reality.

“Then all of a sudden I get an offer, and I was like, ‘Well yes! I would love to go there,’” she said. “It was a real big shock.”

Elo’s opportunity didn’t come as much of a surprise to her high school coach Bridget Warnke, who witnessed the soon-to-be Wildcat make steady strides each season with the Chippewas.

“As a freshman, I saw her passion for golf and watched her improve every year,” Warnke said. “This year, as a senior, she was our top player. She’s really dedicated.”

Warnke added that Elo has always possessed the proper poise on the course too.

“Golf is half game, half mind,” Warnke said. “And Tiffany definitely has the mentality to be a strong player at the next level. She would always set goals for herself on the course, and whenever I’d come up on her during a round, she’d have a smile on her face and you could tell she just really enjoyed it.

“With golf, that’s half the battle,” she added. “Frustration can build for a lot of kids, but I never saw that with her. We had several freshmen this year and she was a role model for them; a great team leader.”

Elo capped her prep career with the Chippewas this past fall, with some standout performances throughout the season. In a cold and windy Division 4 regional at Grayling, she finished in 10th place overall with an 18-hole score of 95.

“She earned medals against pretty stiff competition this past season,” Warnke said. “Our regional was a mess (weather-wise), but she was still top 10. She had a great season; very consistent. She really didn’t have a bad day. And that consistency has always been an attribute for her.”

For Elo, golf is rooted in her family tree.

“I really love the sport, and I think my dedication comes from my dad,” she said of her father Frank, an avid golfer who has even competed in the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship. “I love going out golfing with him, so he’s made a big impression on my golf career and really pushed me to be my best.”

Frank said her work ethic along the way has been key.

“She deserves it,” he said. “She’s practiced on her own, practiced with her family. She’s taken lessons, entered tournaments … She’s really worked hard at this and we’re hoping she does well in college.”

Northern Michigan University, located in Marquette, is a member of NCAA’s Division II Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Elo believes it’s the perfect place for this next chapter.

“I love the campus up there,” she said. “There’s so many things to do and it’s beautiful. So this is such a great opportunity for me. … Being accepted on the golf team meant a lot. I wanted to go there in the first place, so to do something I love there is going to be incredible.”

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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