Bowling? Strike that. Darts? What’s the point? Axe-throwing? Now that’s on target. Craft Axe Throwing hits a new gaming mark just four months after opening at the hyper-hip Hampton Station, right off of Pete Hollis Boulevard. In its funky old warehouse space, Craft Axe is all about hurling hatchets.
“Anger management?” Bryan Smith muses one afternoon when he and some friends drop in from out of town. Their goal? Stick a 4-inch-blade into a 2-inch-round bull’s-eye from 12 feet away.
“I don’t know if they allow you to bring in a picture, but . . . ,” Smith continues. Whether or not you’re aiming at an imaginary ex, the cutting-edge sport has become serious business. “Competitive axe-throwing is an actual thing,” a Washington Post headline proclaimed in 2016.
Jake Jensen, 31, a Nebraska transplant who also owns the Greenville Escape Room, threw the Canadian idea against the wall here. In no time, it stuck, expanding from 10 to 14 lanes in Craft Axe’s 3,000-square-foot space. Now he and a business partner aim to start a league and open a craft-beer bar, while targeting six other states for locations.
“It’s old school darts,” says Smith, 42, a Delta Airlines pilot from Noonan, Georgia. “You’ve got something sharp and deadly flying through the air. What’s not to like about it?”
Illustration by Alexander Harrison
Get an Edge on the Competition
Craft Axe Throwing’s marketing director Trent Larkins compares the sport to darts and bowling, but when it comes to technique, axe-throwing is a whole different ballgame.
Accuracy’s all in the wrist. Handling a Craft Axe hatchet, with its 2.5-pound head and 15-inch handle, demands the stability of a golf grip combined with a Celtic warrior’s aim. A wobbly throw means the blade isn’t likely to stick on the 3-by-4-foot board; no stick in the 35-inch-diameter target area, no points.
Basic axe-throwing is a bit like soccer’s two-handed overhead toss. The blade must be held perfectly straight. Gripping the axe like a baseball bat, drop it behind your head. Propel the axe toward the target, releasing it while keeping your arms extended for a complete follow-through. Official rules say the axe must rotate at least once before hitting the board.
For a Braveheart-level, one-handed throw, drop your throwing arm to your side, then bring the axe up over your head. Hurl the axe like a baseball, releasing it when your arm is parallel to the ground. Your throwing arm should follow through, as in golf.
Players each pay $20 per hour—and you’ll be surprised at how often you hit the bull’s-eye.
Craft Axe Throwing, $20 per hour. 1320 Hampton Ave Ext, Ste 5A, Greenville. (864) 301-6032, craftaxethrowing.com