Ever heard of the saying “hit the ground running”? Meet someone who lives that phrase on a daily basis: Bartosz Kowalewski. Kowalewski is one of the newest faces on the PDGA Tour. Kowalewski is new to the Open division and is learning how to compete at some the highest levels of disc golf.
After a second place finish at the Discmania Combine stop in Michigan, and a season full of success, Kowalewski found himself joining team Discmania. Not one to back down to a challenge, he immediately found himself a seat on The Maniac, Discmania’s RV, and is touring full time with Colten Montgomery.
As Kowalewski continues on the road we talked with him about the his past and start to the 2018 season.
Tell us a little background info on you.
I was born and raised in Michigan. From the age of six until I graduated college I played soccer. I attended Lawrence Tech University where I played for four years while studying for my bachelors in business administration.
I come from a Polish family, and I am fluent in the language. When I am not disc golfing I enjoy messing around with photography and working on cars. My father works on cars, and has taught me just about everything that I know.
What got you into disc golf?
I walked into a sports store one day and saw the golf discs, and I decided to purchase some. I played recreationally until I went to college. There I met Chadd Scruggs. He played competitively and introduced me to new discs and taught me more about the sport. Due to that, every moment I had off of school or soccer I was out experimenting and practicing. I was also lucky enough to have a disc golf course on my college campus.
Bart found his way to Team Discmania through Combine. Photo: Colten montgomery.
When did you start throwing Discmania?
I started throwing Discmania in 2015. My friend Skyler Stoker introduced me to the P2. At the time, I was throwing a mixed bag . He recommended the putter switch because of the beadless rim, which gave me a cleaner release.
After picking up the Discmania P2, Discmania slowly started taking over my bag. I almost immediately noticed an improvement in my game.
What do you think helped you the most to get your game to where it is now?
I think one of the keys has been having good competition to play with week in and week out. Another key to success is self-determination and the want to succeed. Most of all, I believe practice, practice, practice makes all the difference.
What is your favorite memory from your time on the road so far?
Getting to know my tour partner Colten Montgomery has been a great experience. After about a month on the road together, we have become good friends. He is a phenomenal player, and I enjoy competing alongside him. Consequently it's hard to pick a specific memory, because I am enjoying every bit of this experience.
What has surprised you the most so far about being on tour?
The level of competition is insane. It's awesome to see all these players every weekend who share the same passion. Because of that, wherever you go there are very talented players.
Bart is enjoying his first full season on the tour. Photo: Colten Montgomery.
What is your favorite shot to throw on the disc golf course?
I really enjoy throwing those 250-350 foot midrange shots. Nothing beats a perfectly executed midrange shot through a gap. To me, being able to throw a slight turnover or dead straight shot with a midrange is an irreplaceable skill which is why it is the backbone of my game.
How has Discmania reinvented your game?
Making a Discmania bag was simple. It allowed me to simplify my bag, carrying fewer molds. They have a wide range of discs that cover just about every shot. I love throwing stock run discs that are readily available if you lose a disc.
Not having to deal with finding old runs or beating a disc into a certain point really takes some of the stress off. Most of all, you know that whenever you order from Discmania you will get nothing less than the best customer service our sport has to offer.
What disc in your bag is the most essential?
I would be lost without my Discmania FD. The FD is easy to throw on any line. It doesn’t matter if you want hyzer, anhyzer, straight, or roller the FD can do it all. This disc is great for all skill levels as well. Therefore, if someone wants to try out Discmania for the first time this is the disc I would recommend to them.
Have any of the newly released molds made your bag?
Yes. The S-Line P3x has become a go to disc for most of my approach shots inside of 200 feet. The C-Line MD4 was a great fill between my Glow MD3s and my Innova Gator. As a result, I also find myself forehanding the MD4 for certain approach shots.
The S-Line CD3 also made my bag. I use this disc for longer controlled drives. I am very much looking forward to the new releases for this year as well as I am sure a few of them will make my bag!
Would you rather play a long course with only a P2 or a short course with only a PD2?
Since I love to bomb putters, and it would be most beneficial for practice, I would have to say a long course with a P2.
How does your home state of Michigan match up against the other states you have traveled to so far?
Well first of all, there is snow in Michigan. Consequently, it makes for completely different off season disc golf than down south.
What I particularly like so far in other states is the use of legitimate par 4's and par 5's. In Michigan it seems that everything tends to be a par 3. Playing everything as a par 3 really changes your approach to how you design and play a course.
Also, in Michigan we have a lot of wooded golf whereas down south there is a lot more wide open land. All that open land leads to some big courses. Other than disc golf it's awesome to try some restaurants that we don't have on Michigan like In and Out, WHATABURGER, Schlotzskys and Raising Cane's just to name a few.
Ok before we are done, here is your soap box, what do you want to say to the people?
Follow your dreams and keep pursuing your goals. You can attain anything that you set your mind to with hard work and dedication. Create a plan of where you see yourself in a set period of time, setting milestones of achievement along the way. Most important of all, have fun doing it.
I am proud to say that Kowalewski is one of my very good friends and I am also proud to say that I was the first one to put a Discmania disc in his hands! If you told me three years ago that he would be out on tour today I would have shrugged my shoulders and said "figures.”
If you see him out and about on tour make sure to stop and say hey.
- Skyler Stoker