Have an ax to grind? Recreational ax throwing has been increasing in popularity, and several new places in North Texas will let you toss the tool for target practice.
The first, Dallas Axe Throwing, opened in Richardson in 2017. Since then, two others have popped up in Fort Worth's riverside district and East Dallas.
Fort Worth Axe Factory came to fruition in February thanks to a school project. Owner Ryan Griffin, a student at the University of Texas at Arlington, was tasked with developing a business plan for one of his classes, and when the numbers seemed in his favor, he put that plan into action.
Griffin rents a 3,000-square-foot warehouse space outfitted with several ax throwing lanes, which are separated by chain link fencing. At the end of each lane, several wooden boards have been positioned and marked to make game boards with rings like a dart board and numbers in each circle. There are several games to play, but first you'll want to learn how to land in ax into the wood.
That's where Griffin's "ax-perts" come in. They give each group a quick lesson in safety and technique before letting them give it a try.
Griffin can't pinpoint why ax throwing has taken off recently -- people do come in the facility quoting Game of Thrones often, he says -- but notes the activity appeals to a wide demographic. He's hosted bachelorette parties and fraternities, as well as groups of senior citizens. Throwing axes is not only fun, Griffin says, it's also stress relieving.
"We call it lumberjack yoga," he says.
Canada-based Bad Axe Throwing is another company intent on bringing the thrill of this outdoor hobby into an urban setting. The Dallas location, which opened in June, is the company's first in Texas and 19th in North America. It's set up similarly to its Fort Worth counterpart, but long term plans include installing a bar that serves beer and wine. (Fort Worth Axe Factory is BYOB and notably shares a parking lot with Martin House Brewing Co. Though the brewery doesn't sell beer to-go, it does have a taproom onsite where adults can grab a pint.)
If you're thinking putting booze and sharp objects together might be a bad idea, Anthony McGavock, Bad Axe's regional operations manager, is not too worried about ax-cidents.
"In my time with the company, the worst injury that I have ever seen was a splinter," McGavock says.
Bad Axe Throwing also hosts league play as a member of the World Axe Throwing League.
Pricing for ax throwing is usually by-the-hour, and can vary depending on how many people come in your group. (The per-person rate is about $20-$32.) Most places recommend making an advance reservation online, though Fort Worth Axe Factory and Bad Axe also accept walk-ins.