Filming of Golf Channel’s 'Big Break Myrtle Beach' completed

ablondin@thesunnews.comJune 27, 2014 

The Big Break Myrtle Beach

Cameras roll as contestants that will appear in the Golf Channel show Big Break Myrtle Beach hit balls on the Barefoot Resort driving range as filming for the 22nd season took place over the past couple of weeks along the Grand Strand.

BY CHARLES SLATE — cslate@thesunnews.com Buy Photo

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    Host locations

    Big Break locations in order from Big Break 1 in 2003 to Big Break 22 in 2014.

    Treetops Resort, Gaylord, Mich.

    Walters Golf Courses, Las Vegas

    Kingsmill Resort and Spa, Kingsmill, Va.

    Carnoustie Golf Links and St. Andrews Golf Links, Carnoustie, UK

    Turtle Bay Resort, Oahu, Hawaii

    Trump National Golf Club, Los Angeles

    Reunion Resort and Club, Kissimmee, Fla.

    Oasis Golf Club, Mesquite, Nev.

    Ka’anapali Resort, Maui, Hawaii

    Boyne Highlands Resort, Boyne, Mich.

    Mill River Resort, Prince Edward Island, Canada

    Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

    Sandals Resort, Great Exuma, Bahamas

    Casa de Campo Resort, La Romana, Dominican Republic

    Indian Wells Golf Resort, Indian Wells, Calif.

    K Club, Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland

    The Ocean Club, Paradise Island, Bahamas

    The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

    Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf Club, Riviera Maya, Mexico

    Dorado Beach Resort, Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico

    Omni Amelia Island Plantation, Amelia Island, Fla.

    Barefoot Resort-Pawleys Plantation, Myrtle Beach area

Filming of "Big Break Myrtle Beach," the 22nd season of Golf Channel’s reality golf competition series, was completed Wednesday with the 18-hole match play championship between the show’s two finalists at Barefoot Resort’s Fazio Course.

Barefoot Resort hosted the filming of most of the 11 episodes over two weeks on its Fazio, Dye and Love courses, as well as its two driving ranges that featured the signature "Big Break" rock.

The show will also capture the beauty of the Lowcountry in at least one episode that was shot at Pawleys Plantation.

"Big Break Myrtle Beach" will be broadcast for 11 consecutive weeks from Oct. 7 through Dec. 16, and will air at 9 p.m. Tuesdays.

“The entire Grand Strand is going to benefit from this in the future once the show runs,” Barefoot Resort general manager Dave Genevro said. “All the properties and resorts they’ve gone to in the past are great destinations, and they came here so we’re going to be associated with a great destination.”

The Marina Inn at Grande Dunes housed the entire cast and crew and will be featured in footage of daily breakfasts and evening interviews with competitors, the Dye clubhouse served as production headquarters, and the Greg Norman Champions Academy on the back side of the primary Barefoot driving range provided use of property.

Barefoot was an easy choice for Golf Channel because of its relatively central location, the quality, breadth and size of its facilities, and its history with Golf Channel. It hosted film crews on several occasions for broadcasts of Canadian Tour events over two seasons in the early 2000s and several highlight shows of the annual Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After the Masters Celebrity Pro-Am.

The 12-member cast of competitors is comprised of six men and six women. Selection of the cast began with nearly 3,000 applications, according to Jay Kossoff, Golf Channel’s vice president of original productions and a "Big Break" creator and executive producer. “We ended up being really pleased with our cast,” Kossoff said. “The golf was terrific and their story lines played out the way we hoped they would. I think we’ve got a real good series on our hands.”

"Big Break" is Golf Channel’s most successful original series, with about 5 million viewers watching the combined 11 episodes each season, according to the network, and is one of the longest running reality competition shows on television.

A one-hour Golf Channel special on Sept. 17 will introduce the cast and include visits to their homes – it will re-air several times before the premiere episode – though network executives are considering revealing the cast during the Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship on the Grand Strand from Aug. 25-29.

“We’ll give the viewer who the contestant is, what their story is and how badly they want and need this [in the Sept. 17 show],” Kossoff said.

The results of the competition won’t be released until "Big Break Myrtle Beach" airs.

The winner will receive more than $100,000 in cash and prizes, which invariably include at least one exemption into an upper-echelon tour event, hence the title "Big Break." Past "Big Break" champions have won tournament exemptions into PGA Tour, Champions Tour, European Tour, LPGA Tour and Web.com Tour events.

"Big Break 21" winner Jackie Stoelting received an exemption into an LPGA event, $65,000 in cash, full exempt status on the 2015 Symetra Tour with all entry fees paid, an endorsement contract from Adams Golf that included $10,000 in cash, and other prizes.

Several past "Big Break" competitors have gone on to have successful careers. They include PGA Tour winners Matt Every and Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey of Bishopville, and LPGA members and Solheim Cup competitors Gerina Piller, Ryann O’Toole and Kristy McPherson of Conway, who competed on "Big Break VI Trump National" in 2006.

A production crew of more than 90 people, not including the cast, included numerous cameramen, audio technicians, prop builders, set builders, makeup artists, etc.

“It’s really a small movie crew we bring in there,” said Kossoff, who is very familiar with Myrtle Beach. He produced the 12-episode 2008 Golf Channel series “Road Trip: Myrtle Beach,” which followed a celebrity foursome on a Strand golf vacation, as well as several Hootie MAM highlight shows.

“We’ve been wanting to get there for awhile,” Kossoff said. “We knew the courses there are fantastic and it was just a matter of time. I’m glad it finally worked out.”

"Big Break Myrtle Beach" will have its own website that is scheduled to launch in September within GolfChannel.com.

Several Myrtle Beach attractions will be featured either on the TV show or in web content. Activities earned as rewards for individual skills contest victories will likely make the show, and the website will feature additional footage involving activities and excursions by eliminated competitors, who were required to remain in Myrtle Beach for the duration of filming.

Attractions and activities experienced by the competitors included a Little River deep sea fishing charter, the SkyWheel, Sharkey’s Beach Bar, a helicopter tour, a Dolphin Adventure cruise, jet skiing, a tour of New South Brewery, Cinzia Spa at North Beach Plantation, Broadway Grand Prix go-kart racing, and a Myrtle Beach Pelicans baseball game. Eliminated competitors also played rounds at several area courses.

A "Big Break" sand castle was built for a day just north of the Second Avenue Pier near the boardwalk.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity for us to showcase the destination,” said Bill Golden, president of marketing cooperative Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday. “It’s a reality competition show, but it allows us the opportunity to provide a showcase of the destination within the content of the show and within the story lines of the show.”

The show is part of a media package purchase by Golf Holiday that also includes two one-minute commercials to support the destination and digital promotions running on GolfChannel.com later this summer and into the fall.

“That allows us to be a lot more creative and show the depth of the destination; the whole experience,” Golden said, “which you can never really do in an advertising buy or marketing buy or 30-second commercial spot.”

Golf Channel became a part of NBC and the NBC Sports Group three years ago, and Golden expects promotions for "Big Break Myrtle Beach" to appear on multiple NBC Sports Group channels, including on NBC coverage of the Ryder Cup in late September.

“This show will be promoted through their family of networks, which is a great platform for us to be on that we couldn’t necessarily purchase individually,” Golden said.

"Big Break" has often been shot at locations that were easily closed to the public. Despite the inherent difficulties of filming at public courses in a resort destination, Kossoff said “this was unquestionably one of our smoothest seasons. I think we were able to do it pretty seamlessly. We had a facility with multiple golf courses and a ton of space for our staff and production. Logistically it was wonderful.”

Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284 or on Twitter @alanblondin, or read his blog Green Reading at myrtlebeachonline.com

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