The best laid plans of mice and men


Planning an episode of the Big Break is similar to setting up a chess scenario and trying to prepare for every possible outcome, only to have the pieces come to life and do something you never expected.

Let’s take the first challenge of this episode as an example. Weeks earlier, we had hammered out the details of the rules, for instance, the number of locations, how the competitors would pick their location, how to decide a playoff, etc. We had decided if a tie occurred, tied competitors would replay the location for a couple of reasons:  it’s the most fair option and gives us the best winner, and if we needed a playoff, the consensus was that it would last one round, two at most. It just wouldn’t hurt us too badly on the schedule. We felt like we had a great set of locations, the front location was straightforward and easy, the back location was tough,  but fair, rewarding good shots and punishing misses, so we expected the field to spread out a bit. We planned for every eventuality, except  one. 

The ladies.

Deciding that they had to play from the back to have a chance to win, seven of the ten went to the 50-yard location. Stacey, Ryann and Carling all made the up and down, and then we started “the playoff.” Let’s just say that we had expected to finish this challenge at 10:00 am, and we actually broke sometime around 1:00 PM.  The playoff went six rounds!  What eventually aired in the show were rounds 1, 3 and 6. In the 2nd round, we had misses, and then in rounds 4 and 5, Ryann and Carling both put their first shots inside 6 feet. Carling got up and down 6 out of 7 times from a tough 50-yard location to win immunity. It was an “impressive display of golf” to say the least.

In the meantime, production was scrambling to get snacks to the cast and crew, pushing lunch back, not to mention handling some VIP arrivals: Butch Stewart, the Chairman of Sandals Resorts, his son, Adam who serves as CEO of the company, and a certain Australian golfer who spent 331 weeks as the world’s top ranked golfer. Not only did we need to shoot arrivals and interviews, we also had to make sure the contestants didn’t bump into the VIPs before the appointed time. More on that in next week’s episode.

A lot of thanks is due to our production staff and crew for rolling with the punches, as well as the Sandals Resorts staff for shepherding VIP’s around property to avoid the cast. And let’s give the ladies some credit for playing some great golf and teaching us all the value of a closest to the pin playoff.