For those of you that do not know, Discmania holds combines throughout the year that test you on a range of tests in the world of Disc Golf. In 2017 in Michigan, Bartosz "Bart" Kowalewski, who alreayd is a media sponsor with Discmania, showed up and competed to the best of his ability. He ended up getting second but still ending up with a sponsorship deal from Discmania! He has a great story to tell and is well worth the read! Enjoy!
1) How did you get your start into Disc Golf?
Well, back in 2012 I walked into a sports store and stumbled upon some discs. It intrigued me, so I purchased some and started to throw them (I believe I purchased an Innova Monarch and Eagle). A couple months later I was informed that there are courses with baskets to play at. The closest course to my house was/is Stony Creek. The course has a mixture of long and short holes and is pretty challenging. Learning on a course like this quickly forced me to learn every shot in the game (FH, BH, overhand, etc.)
2) Who or what inspires you to continue to play?
I am a very self-motivated and competitive person. Over the course of my career I have played many different sports at various levels. Soccer was my main sport, I played all the way through college. After my college soccer career ended, I was able to put in more time into Disc Golf.
Playing locally is a big inspiration to me. We have many talented players in Michigan, who are always up for some good competitive play. Team Stony is my local club. They host weekly leagues during the spring/summer/fall months. These leagues keep me in form and on my game when there are no tournaments to play.
3) What made you want to go pro?
I had a strong year in 2016. I was fortunate enough to be able to travel and go to some bigger amateur events. I won two A-Tiers, one B-Tier and finished in the top 10 at Glass Blown Open, Amateur World Championships and Michigan State Championships. I finished the year with 10457 points which was 3rd highest among all Amateurs in 2016. I felt that it was time to go Pro in 2017.
4) What is it like to be sponsored?
Having individuals or companies that support me as a player is huge. It helps take some of the stress or worries off my mind and allows me to focus more on my game plan. It makes it easier to go out of state and attend bigger events. It also clears the mind, so it is easier to focus on playing well.
5) What is it like to be on Team Discmania?
I have been on the team for about a month now, and it is awesome! It was a personal goal of mine in 2017 to make the team. They fully support and back me, which is all I can ask for.
6) Favorite Disc?
Discmania FD (Fairway Driver). A great disc for all skill levels.
7) Favorite Course?
Deer Lakes Park in Pennsylvania.
8) What can we expect from you going into 2018?
I am trying to head to as many National Tour and Pro Tour events as my schedule and funds allow. I will be going on a couple “mini tours” over the course of this year. Other than that, I will be playing events in Michigan when not out on tour. Creating content for Discmania is always something that I am doing, weather its making disc review videos, taking photos of products for my social media, answering questions or contributing to conversations online.
9) Do you have any pre-tournament rituals? if so, what are they?
I like to be prepared and ready. Going into a round I like to give myself any competitive advantage I can within the laws of the game. Showing up at least an hour before check in. Making sure I am stretched and ready to throw at 100% power. Double checking that I have everything I will need during my round like towels, water, snacks, a grip sack, backup discs, etc. If I show up unprepared, I am putting myself at a disadvantage before the first throw.
10) What advice could you give someone who wants to step up their game?
Do not give up, no matter what hits you. Analyze your mistakes and learn from them. Understand that everyone, even the best players have bad days and bad tournaments.
11) What was it like to win the Michigan Combine?
Technically I came 2nd in the Michigan combine. It was an awesome experience seeing Avery Jenkins so close to home and competing in this event. I was sure to treat the combine just like any other tournament. After the event had concluded I was satisfied with my performance and I knew that I had placed well.
12) What has changed the most from being a media person to a sponsored player?
I can put more emphasis on achieving to be the player that I want to be. Discmania is increasing their support for me, so in turn I will return the favor. I will still produce content and media for Discmania, because I enjoy doing it. I also will be setting higher goals for myself during the bigger tournaments during the year.
13) What do you think you do to help grow the sport?
Helping local clubs and course owners plays a significant role on impact of the local disc golf scene. Everything from helping set up registration for a league or a tournament, to showing up for a course clean up day, to giving people advice on their game when they ask for it. Trying to portray the professional side of our sport to grow awareness of it.
14) What has been your favorite disc golf memory so far?
Being able to play on the lead card at Amateur Worlds in 2016 for a couple rounds has been one of the best memories I have had. Being picked up by Discmania will also be a memory that will stay with me for a very long time.
15) Is there anything else you would like people to know about you that they may not?
I am fluent in the Polish language, my parents came from Poland and I was taught the language as a child.
I would like to thank Bart for taking the time out of his day to let me ask him these questions and answering them as well. If you would like to know more about him, follow him on Instagram at @bartk_17 . Look out for more from me coming soon!
Picture credit goes to Bartosz Kowalewski