Club tabs E. Padovini for Player of the Month award

Pellini 2nd, B. Padovini 3rd

* Recent winners:
May: David Warder
April: Noah Gaughan
March: Ethan von Hagel
February: Shania Farris
January: Tim Farris
* Allegany County Disc Golf Club on Facebook
* 2023: A Look Ahead
* 2022: A Look Back

FROSTBURG — Life on the local disc golf courses might look and feel a little bit like an out-of-control roller coaster ride for Evan Padovini.

When the 11-year-old Frostburg resident and Mount Savage Middle School student is “up” on his game — resulting in his lowest scores — he is really up. And when he is down — somewhat artificially inflating his scores — he is really down. But such is the life of a pre-teen disc golfer who has been playing the game for not yet six weeks. With those ups and downs in momentum and score come all the emotions of having a really great shot, followed by consecutive tree hits on subsequent throws. It can be mind-numbingly frustrating, but he has handled the new burden, outlet and area of interest with the aplomb of a much older, more experienced athlete.

Evan Padovini, the Allegany County Disc Golf Club’s Player of the Month for June 2023.

Padovini was introduced to disc golf during a series of gym classes facilitated by the Allegany County Disc Golf Club at his school over the second half of May. Since then, he has done two things that are key components in being considered for the club’s monthly recognition program. First, he became a rather serious and steadfast student of the game. Second, he has shared the game with others — perhaps no one more important than his dad, Brian Padovini.

The father-son duo have shared numerous rounds on courses in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia already. They have bought plenty of gear, including disc golf bags and, of course, discs. The elder Padovini is owner of Knot Worthy Woodworks, and the two have even made their own minis for play on local courses.

On and off the course, Evan Padovini has become a student of the game. And the lessons are paying off, helping the young Padovini earn the club’s Player of the Month honors for June. Voters gave the younger Padovini all three first-place votes. He finished with 15 points from the three-person panel, followed by another newcomer, Ken Pellini (11 points, including two second-place votes and a third), and then someone with a recognizable name: Brian Padovini (10 points, including a second-place vote and two thirds).

Padovini will receive a one-year subscription to uDisc Pro for his achievement.

But enough superlatives. Exactly what did the young Padovini do to warrant the monthly award? He participated in a casual, non-league (non-club) round on June 14. Just him and some friends old and new slinging discs at Hoffman Park Disc Golf Course in Frostburg. He lives only a few minutes away from the first and only public disc golf course in Allegany County, so it’s a natural and convenient place for him to practice.

He didn’t do well. Or, rather, he didn’t do well compared to others playing that day. Padovini needed 81 strokes to get through 18 holes — 27 over par, including 42 on the front nine and 39 on the back nine. He threw for par only five times (27.8 percent). That round didn’t count towards consideration, but the effort the rest of the month did.

Along with studying at home with his dad, Padovini was one of 11 players to participate in the club’s clinic on June 17 at the PVAA Sports Complex in Cresaptown. He received some instruction on putting, forehands and backhands, along with disc selection. He was told that, as a new player, it’d likely be difficult to stay away from throwing fairway drivers and distance drivers for the first couple of months, but the club preached patience. Padovini was encouraged to throw only putters and midrange discs for the first eight to 12 weeks. Padovini heeded the advice, and instead of seeking to throw higher-speed discs, he focused on technique.

His progress can be measured in the number of strokes. Only three days after the clinic, Padovini showed up to Hoffman Park DGC for Week 1 of Summer Youth League. Play was limited that night to nine baskets. Donning his baseball uniform — the budding two-sport standout had a ball game later that evening — Padovini made the most of the opportunity by tying the most experienced youth in the field for first place. This time, he  needed only 33 strokes to get through nine baskets, and he threw for par five times (55.6 percent).

Four days later, Padovini took on what was his greatest disc golf challenge to date. He jumped in the Saturday Morning Tag League round at Mile Lane Disc Golf in Mount Savage. Though the independently operated SMTL has league rules that permit him to throw all 24 holes from the short tees, Padovini accepted the challenge of throwing 12 short and 12 long.

Allegany County Disc Golf Club March Player of the Month Ethan von Hagel, right, presents the June Player of the Month award to Evan Padovini on Monday before the start of a Summer Flex League round at Hoffman Park Disc Golf Course in Frostburg.

Even though the scorecard might not indicate it, Padovini rose to the challenge. He finished last among 14 players, but the closest to his age was 19-year-old winner Colby Mallery. Padovini threw for par only three times on the front 12 (25 percent), and then three more times from the long tees (25 percent). It was Padovini’s first time playing at Mile Lane Disc Golf. The good news is that the round doubled as the club’s Summer Flex League Week 1 round. Instead of being compared to the 13 adults in the SMTL field, Padovini’s 95 strokes placed him solidly in second place behind Josiah Spradlin (90), an athlete with nearly two years of disc golf experience. Strategy often plays a critical part in a successful disc golfer’s day, and Padovini is no different. Though he finished Week 1 of Summer Flex League in second place by number of strokes, he tied Spradlin for first in the Week 1 division standings as he earned an extra point by playing his best SFL round during SMTL action; Spradlin did not.

Fast forward only three days, and Padovini returned to Hoffman Park DGC for Week 2 of Summer Youth League. This time, he left no doubt. Padovini threw for par on 11 of 18 baskets (61.1 percent), chopped of 19 strokes from his June 14 practice round and finished with an eight over par 62. He was seven strokes ahead of runner-up Luke Spradlin-Vogelsang, with whom he tied in Week 1.

Ken Pellini – 2nd

Ken Pellini recently relocated from Georgia to a new house in Cumberland — and has found a new home with the Allegany County Disc Golf Club.

The 62-year-old is the first club member to benefit from the new rule change that allows volunteer efforts to be included in Player of the Month consideration.

Pellini represented the club during the disc golf event of the Mineral County (W.Va.) Senior Olympics at Potomac State College in Keyser. A few days later, he was again volunteering, this time at the club’s booth during the Western Maryland Food Truck Festival in Cresaptown. Under a blazing hot sun that didn’t seem to bother the former southerner one bit, Pellini helped guide many of the 39 athletes who participated in the club’s putting and CTP contests.

Since June 2022 when the club recognized its first Player of the Month award winner, the awards program has primarily served to  highlight a mixture of participation and performance. Starting with June 2023 — Month 1 of Year 2 for the award — the club has added the spirit of volunteer service to the local disc golf community as well, with special focus given to club-organized activities. This rule was adopted in large part to Keith Raynor, who was a contender for the monthly award multiple times in the club’s first year but seemed to give more of himself on the course with a weed trimmer, to the benefit of others, than with a disc golf bag to benefit himself.

Along with the volunteer activities — and in May, Pellini helped install the baskets at the newly opened Hoffman Park Disc Golf Course in Frostburg — Pellini made his club debut during Week 1 of the Summer Flex League. It was last weekend, during Saturday Morning Tag League (which doubled as the club’s flex league site), that Pellini threw an eight under par at Mile Lane Disc Golf in Mount Savage. It was his first time on the course, and he was still recovering from a lingering back injury. Even so, he finished in a three-way tie for third.

Brian Padovini – 3rd

Brian Padovini became involved in the game of disc golf when his son, Evan, came home from school and told him about three days of lessons during gym class at school. Those lessons were facilitated with physical education teacher Amy Morton along with the Allegany County Disc Golf Club.

Since then, Padovini, 42, of Frostburg, has been on a tear. An engineer by trade, he has transferred his methodical approach to life in general straight to the disc golf course. He has slowly but surely been building the foundation for a very successful future on the local disc golf scene.

And he’s already performing.

Only a month into his disc golf life, Padovini brought his son to the club’s first clinic of the summer earlier this month in Cresaptown. Padovini stood on the sidelines at first, making sure to stay out of any pictures being taken. Then he stood a little closer. And a little closer still. Soon enough, he was throwing with the rest of the participants, staying later than nearly any other athlete in order to gather some tips to absorb as the sun began to set.

He has taken those tips and worked hard to apply them to real life.

Padovini played his first club round in the adult division in Week 1 of Summer Youth League. There, he finished second over nine baskets with an even par 27. During Summer Flex League Week 1, he participated in the Saturday Morning Tag League round and finished a solid one over par 75 over 24 baskets. Foreshadowing his future success, he was five under par over the front 12 from the short tees.

He carried over that success to Week 2 of Summer Youth League. What did he do? He finished with a five under par, carding six birdies (33.3 percent) and par 11 times. It was his first club round under par. The score of 49 gave him a one-stroke win in the adult division while guiding a group of kids on the course.

Evan Padovini has demonstrated what patience and adherence to technique can do for a disc golfer’s score.

Ken Pellini was a key volunteer for two Allegany County Disc Golf Club events in June, and threw an eight under par 66 in his first round at Mile Lane Disc Golf in Mount Savage.

Brian Padovini threw for one over par during his first time at Mile Lane Disc Golf in Mount Savage.

 

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