Unless you’ve gone through it yourself, the college golf recruiting process can seem complicated and daunting.

In a two-part series of Golf IQ, host Luke Kerr-Dineen and myself talk about the basics of college golf. In the first episode, we share the advice we’ve learned from college coaches on the recruiting process and help you learn how to get recruited. You can listen to that episode below, and subscribe right here.

While the process might not be the same for everyone, there are a few key beats we’d reccomend for every aspiring college golfer—and their parent.

1. Don’t force the wrong fit

The first step to finding the right golf program for you is to figure out how you stack up against players at different schools. Based on what coaches have told us, they’re looking for players who have a scoring average that’s equal to or better than their fifth man in the lineup.

Once you’ve determined where you fit in based on your scores, figure out what you’re looking for out of a college golf experience. How much playing time are you hoping to get? How competitive do you want to be? What kind of coaching do you respond best to? Do you want to play at a higher level after college? These are just a few questions you can ask yourself to help you know what to look for out of a golf program.

Take your time building your list of potential schools and do your due diligence to make sure it will be a good fit both on and off the course. Afterall, you have to like the school just as much as you like being on the golf team.

2. Stay on top of your schedule

Setting a good summer schedule is crucial for junior golfers that want to play in college. However, this doesn’t mean playing in as many events as possible.

In fact, coaches said that it’s more effective to model your summer schedule after the flow of competition collegiate players follow.

Play in a few small events that lead up to a bigger event, and have one ‘major’ toward the end of your season. Leave room in between for practice and improvement.

Most of the events should be multi-day tournaments, but they don’t all need to be far from home

or have the most competitive field. Coaches look at everything when you send them your resume. They check to see what the conditions were like, what the winner shot and how tough the course was playing for the entire field. Everything is taken into consideration, including if you beat the field by ten shots or if you were able to bounce back after a bad round.

3. Show initiative to coaches

One of the biggest misconceptions junior golfers have about getting recruited is that the coaches will reach out to them.

That may have been the case years ago, but nowadays most collegiate golfers did the legwork up front to get on a coach’s radar.

There are a few things to keep in mind before emailing coaches. Make sure you have a golf resume and be sure to put your scoring average at the top so it’s the first thing coaches see.

On your first email to a coach, keep it concise. If they’re interested in talking with you about a future at the school they’ll reach out and that’s where you can share more details about yourself and your progress.

Lastly, be sure to do your research and tailor your emails to the school and coach that you’re reaching out to. The biggest green flag that every coach talked about was reading emails written by junior golfers who truly wanted to go to their school. While a generic email won’t hurt you, a personalized email will be something that sets you apart.

Stay tuned for the next episode of Golf IQ where Luke Kerr-Dineen and I talk about what it takes to be successful once you’ve been recruited. And once again, you can listen to that episode and more below …

This article was originally published on golfdigest.com