Skip to main content

Big Break Ireland Producer Blog: The Art of Planning a Challenge

Big Break Ireland
Getty Images


The planning of just one episode of Big Break takes many many hours and is done many many days in advance. Part of my job is to go out early and scout every challenge that is competed on the show. During this scout we pick locations, decide where the cameras will go, and most importantly test everything to make sure that when we arrive there on the day of the challenge everything works smoothly.

The day we went to scout Portmarnock, everything was perfect. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and even rainbows looks particularly bright. It was one of those days when you just stand on one of the many fescue ridden dunes as you overlook the vast expanse better known as the Irish Sea and think about how insignificant you are.  

So, after some hemming and haww-ing we were all set. The sixth episode was all planned out and we couldn’t wait to take advantage of the amazing views Portmarnock had to offer.

Flash forward to the shoot day....

Upon arriving at the golf course at 5:30am, I was greeted with my hat being blown clear off my head and it was abundantly clear that our meticulously crafted plan was....... well...... not going to work. Sustained winds of 40 mph (blowing in the exact opposite direction as when we scouted) were going to make our already difficult challenge locations impossible. So we scrambled. And the result, if I daresay myself was quite good. We had much more long game challenges planned for the day, but decided to move everything in to inside 120 yards because the holes we were playing on had particularly difficult greens. For example, the shot Andy hit to 25ft from the sixth location behind the bush from 117, was for lack of a better term, “holy craptastic” (I’m trademarking that so don’t even think about it.). It’s hard to tell on TV but he started that ball 40 yards left of the pin and it ended up 10 yards right of the pin. The fact that he then made the putt, was just icing on the cake.


For the record, I have personally watched and re-watched the footage we have when Julien addressed his ball and claims it moved. From what I can tell, he definitely made contact with the ball, however, it appears to have nudged forward ever so slightly and then returned to it original position. Under the rules of golf, this is not a penalty. However, one of the uniquely great things about golf is, it is entirely up to the golfer to decide what did or did not happen. Julien felt the ball moved and therefore assessed himself the penalty because ultimately he didn’t know if it came back to its original position. He only knew he touched it and didn’t want to take any chances. I for one respect that.