The lobby will have a spot for handing out axes, a concession stand with soda, chips and candy and eventually a pro shop, he said.
“With groups of eight or more they get a coach (ax-perts, so to speak) who will walk them through safety rules,” and he said.
The popularity of the sport has seen a sharp increase, Gardner said, boosted by celebrity ax-throwing sightings featuring the likes of actor Jason Momoa, actress Jennifer Lawrence and tennis phenom Serena Williams.
Ax-throwing has become a competitive sport with more than 4,000 leagues in 50 cities across five countries, said Nick LaFace, administrator of the Toronto-based National Axe Throwing Federation (NATF).
The World Axe Throwing League (WATL) also regulates other leagues across the world. Both groups hold annual championship events annually.
LaFace also is expansion manager for BATL, the ax-throwing company started by Matt Wilson, who is widely considered the founder of the indoor sport. Wilson started the throwing in his Toronto backyard before creating a company and launching competitive leagues.
Twelve years later, the sport has exploded.
“There is something primitive about throwing an ax that is extremely satisfying, especially when you hit a target,” LaFace said.
His interest in ax-throwing started while visiting a family cottage in Northern Ontario. He found an ax and began throwing it at a tree.
“I have been hooked ever since,” he said. He’s competed in tournaments “but I’ve come to terms that I’ll never be a national champion.”
Learning how to throw an ax is easy, he said. “But like any sport, to get good at it takes a lot of practice.”
The centers are for more than competition, he said. “A lot of people join leagues, but it can be just a fun, social activity that you do with a group of people.”
Some venues offer food and libations, others are bring-your-own.
Do liquor and flying sharp objects mix?
“The only injuries I know of are people getting splinters from the handles or minor finger cuts from pulling it out of the target, which is so rare,” Gardner said, who will allow customers to bring in their own drinks.
Nate Tvedt, who will open Civil Axe Throwing, said corporate groups, birthday and retirement celebrations and other events will be welcomed at the ax range.
“All we require of customers is that they wear closed-toe shoes,” he said.
How to throw an ax
(Source: Bad Axe Throwing)
Plant both feet on the throwing line, shoulder-width apart.
Grip the ax like a baseball bat, with one hand on the bottom of the handle and your dominant hand directly on top.
Extend your arms forward, locking your wrists, and point the blade directly at the ground. The target should be visible just above the butt of the ax.
In one motion, bring the ax behind your head while putting weight on your heels, then swing the ax back to its starting position, putting weight on your toes. Both hands should release the ax at the same time when the ax reaches its starting position perpendicular to your body.