So far this season, Discmania has made some strong moves to redefine their company by announcing a new partnership with Latitude 64 to produce their new line of discs. Their approach to bringing new talent to the Discmania family is also a lot different than most manufacturers. Discmania’s use of the combine system, not unlike the one employed by the NFL, is a more accurate way to scout and gauge potential team members.
One player that has made it through the combine program and ultimately secured a spot on the Discmania team is Bartosz Kowalewski PDGA #68737.
Bartosz, Bart for short, is an Ohio resident who has strong ties with Hazy Shade Disc Golf along with the Dayton, Ohio scene. Perhaps it’s fitting that Bart has become a Discmania player considering his European background. Bart’s journey to become a pro disc golfer is a story of achieving the American dream. Both of his parents were born in Poland and immigrated to the United States. “They taught me to speak the language at an early age and to this day I speak it very well.”
The early stages of Bart’s career began in Michigan where he joined his local club Team Stony, one of the biggest leagues in Southwest Michigan. I asked him how this community changed his disc golf trajectory and he told me that, “I owe a lot to these guys for helping me out when I couldn’t throw farther than 250 feet.” It is during this time that he began playing sanctioned events. “My good friend Skyler Stoker pushed me into throwing Discmania.”
Bart officially became a Discmania member in 2017, but before this he was a part of the Discmania Media Team creating content for them. He was asked by World Champion Avery Jenkins to help find a venue that would fit all the criteria for a combine in Michigan. I wondered what it was like to be a part of the combine and he let me know that, “One could say I was nervous. Battling through the stations against players that I knew just for a chance to be on a team, it takes its toll on your mental game.” His performance putting, driving, and upshots allowed him to continue with a round of 18 holes with Colten Montgomery. “Meeting both Avery and Colten was a blast. We started to play and this kid (Colten) could crush. He was very easy going and made the round less stressful.” Bart finished 2nd out of everyone at that year’s combine, was selected to move on to the interview process, and inevitably made the team.
Bart’s YouTube Channel
A turning point in Bart’s career came when he was touring in the Discmania RV with Colten Montgomery and Kona Panis on their way to the United States Disc Golf Championships.
“We were already going to the USDGC because Colten had qualified.” When he arrived, Bart was faced with the prospect of not having a spot in the tournament, but needing to qualify. “The Monday morning qualifier was nerve-racking for me, but I was mentally prepared.” His first round of the qualifier didn’t go as plan and he found the O.B. three times on the difficult hole 13. Determined to doing much better the second round, and with the encouragement of Colten and Kona, he stuck to his game plan and carded a 65 to earn a spot into the USDGC. “This is still one of the most memorable achievements in my disc golf career.”
One of the key factors in a disc golfer’s evolution is raising their PDGA rating and with it the skills to compete at the highest level. From his first professional tournament in 2015 through the 2018 season, Bart’s PDGA rating continued to rise until he crossed the 1000 rating mark on October of 2018. I asked him about that moment and he replied, “My rating has been a slow and steady incline since I started playing. I knew how close I was to that 1000 mark, but I tried not to think about that at all. Every time I step out on the course I want to shoot the best I possibly can and not think about ratings or score.”
So, what’s in store for him in 2019 and what does he hope to achieve? “I want to cash at every event I play no matter the scale. Qualify for USDGC and have a top 15 spot at a National Tour or Pro Tour Event.” As a rising player with the skills that Bart possesses, those goals won’t be too far out of reach. He continued on about his 2019 season, “I would like to introduce 20 new people to disc golf, provide clinics for the locals, and help my girlfriend (Innova sponsored, Christine Jennings) grow as a player as well.”
Bart Kowalewski is a player that isn’t afraid of hard work and has grinded throughout his career to reach the level he has on the Discmania team. But what is it that he admires about Discmania and Jussi Meresmaa in particular? “He is a straight forward kind of guy. He puts his intentions in line with what’s best for the company. I like his can-do attitude, and his dry humor. He is very focused on the task at hand and a visionary for the future of disc golf.”
With the 2019 season in full swing, disc golf fans will be watching this year’s talent shred the courses, and you can add Bartosz Kowalewski to that list. With two victories already recorded for this year, he has prepared to make this season the one to remember.