Kevin Wilson's approach to the par-3 seventh hole at Rich Harvest Farms was hardly a thing of beauty. Its football equivalent was a wobbly pass that landed at a receiver's feet. I had my iPod Touch video rolling to record it.
Wilson then chipped to 20 feet, leaving a sinister downhill, side-hill par putt.
Good luck with that one, Coach.
"Boom!" he shouted after his "IU"-stamped ball disappeared in the cup.
I felt like a fool. My iTouch was in my pocket. No documentation.
"When you coach Indiana football, you're never on live TV," he shouted. "The highlights will be on the Jumbotron next week. That's how we roll."
It's an uphill fight for Wilson, as it was for predecessors such as Bill Lynch, Terry Hoeppner, Gerry DiNardo and Lee Corso, who had his players pose for a picture in front of the scoreboard after the Hoosiers took an early lead against Ohio State in 1976.
Indiana has had one winning season in the last 18, and its last postseason victory came in the Copper Bowl, which no longer exists.
"We don't deserve anything," Wilson said, following up on his TV comment. "We've got to earn it."
Wilson has the pedigree to earn some trust. While working under Randy Walker in 2000, he devised Northwestern's no-huddle spread offense after studying with Rich Rodriguez, then the offensive coordinator at Clemson.
The night before our round at Rich Harvest Farms, the quirky and incredibly difficult west suburban course that hosted the 2009 Solheim Cup, Wilson stayed at the same Marriott property where he had picked Rodriguez's brain.
"I watched Clemson in '99 and saw the quarterback looking to the sideline," Wilson recalled. "I thought, 'What the heck is he doing?' "
Wilson guided Oklahoma's offense under Bob Stoops from 2002 to 2010. Whereas Stoops made dicey decisions (run, pass or punt on fourth-and-2?) by feel, Wilson tends to favor odds and probability.
His degree from North Carolina is in mathematics education. So naturally he was in charge of keeping our group's scores and points for our Wolf game.
In the morning, the weather was dismal. Envision mid-November conditions at a Big Ten football game.
"Got any sunscreen?" Wilson joked in the Rich Harvest clubhouse. "Those ultraviolet rays will get you."
Our host, Eric Ferguson of WTMX-FM 101.9's "Eric & Kathy Show," showed up at the range with two black all-weather gloves, saying: "I will confess I am a huge baby. If (the temperatures) are below 60, I put it all on."
Wilson, decked out in Hoosier crimson and cream from head to toe, chose Rich Harvest because of its natural beauty and remoteness. During our round, we saw more deer than golfers.
Wilson played some of the North Shore's finest courses while at Northwestern, favoring Skokie, Conway Farms, Sunset Ridge, Knollwood and North Shore. He would tee it up with Walker, his mentor, and fellow assistant Jeff Genyk: "We wouldn't play for anything, but we'd try to kick each other's butts."
Wilson was legit as a junior golfer, breaking 70 on a "dive little muni" as a 14-year-old in Maiden, N.C., near Charlotte. Dad Clifford, an electrician, used electrical tape to make his first club, a sawed-off 2-iron.
Now he plays army golf off the tee — left, right, left, right — saying: "I don't hit it that far. Got those bad hips."
But he is magic on the greens. Oldest son Trey has his first-string putter, a 1981 Ping Anser. But even with his backup, a TaylorMade Ghost Spider S, he rolled in four from outside 15 feet, crushing my spirit with a birdie after I reached the 512-yard Silver No. 7 in two.
Wilson said his lights-out putting is about more than mechanics. He believes he'll knock in every putt.
"It's positive energy versus negative energy," he said. "When I'm on the tee box, I'm thinking: 'Don't hook it; don't slice it.' "
18 Holes with … Kevin Wilson
Five-second bio: The third-year Indiana coach helped develop Sam Bradford at Oklahoma and Zak Kustok at Northwestern.
Where: Rich Harvest Farms, Sugar Grove (member tees: 6,721 yards).
Wilson's handicap: "8, but I don't play to it."
What he shot: 94 (on a 50-degree day with 20-mph winds).
Wilson on his game: "I'm not overly serious. I'm not going to cuss or throw my clubs."