I can’t say that axe throwing is something I’d ever considered until recently. When Ryan Nelson, owner of the newly-opened Golden Axe Throw Club in Bangkok, invited me to give it a try, I jumped at the chance. “I think you’d really dig the sport, being an athlete in Thailand”, he said. Honestly, who wouldn’t enjoy throwing axes?
Ryan welcomed me and my friends for his first-ever private event last month. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time, and I was surprised by how quickly I got the hang of it.
Here are my best throws of the night.
There are a couple of awesome axe-throwing women I tried to channel during the evening. The first is Xena Warrior Princess, obviously. The second is Carrie Nation. She was a member of the temperance movement who felt so strongly about the prohibition of alcohol that she marched into taverns and single-handedly smashed them up with a hatchet. She was described as “America’s foremost lady hellraiser” and was arrested around thirty times for her attacks, which she called “hatchetations”. She knew what the fuck to do with an axe. There’s an excellent episode about her on the Criminal podcast.
Learning to Throw
I imagined axe throwing to be pretty difficult, and was convinced that I was going to be terrible at it. Before arriving, I’d resigned to the fact that I was going to embarrass myself. However, learning to sling a hatchet was surprisingly easy. I even managed to get three bullseyes in a row at one point!
Before we got started, Ryan taught us the proper throwing technique and allowed each of us to practice until we felt confident. After a few throws, I was able to get it to stick. Once I did, I was hooked. I can see why the sport has developed something of a cult following; it’s addictive!
They weren’t all good, though. Some of my throws ended up looking like this:
What makes axe throwing so much fun, aside from the sheer awesomeness of it, is how competitive it gets.
After we’d all got the hang of throwing, Ryan set us up in a round-robin tournament to crown the best axe thrower of the evening. We were all paired up against each other, and each pair played three rounds, throwing five times each in every round.
During those rounds, Ryan kept score. A bullseye was worth 5 points, the second ring was worth 3, and the outer ring was worth 1. If, the game ended in a tie, the winner was decided by a throw of an even bigger axe. This was pretty intimidating, and its size and weight meant that it was difficult to throw. It wasn’t until right at the end of the night that I got it to stick.
From there, we moved onto playoffs. That’s where things got serious. I was eliminated pretty quickly and my dreams of becoming axe throwing champion of the night were dashed. Still, I had a great time and enjoyed cheering the others on after that.
Axe throwing isn’t as reckless as it sounds. Every throw is supervised and games are structured.
Before you can throw, you’re required to sign a waiver. All players must wear closed-toed shoes, and while alcohol is available, intoxicated players won’t be allowed to throw. Each lane is surrounded by metal fencing to ensure that axes don’t fly off in unexpected directions, and players must wait until their opponents have thrown before collecting their axes from the target.
How to Get There
Golden Axe Throw is located in Ladprao, on Ladprao Wang Hin 67 Alley. It’s a 50 baht taxi ride from Ratchadapisek MRT station, or 80 baht from Ladprao station. Walk-ins are allowed, but booking in advance is recommended. For more information, you can contact them via their Facebook page.
Give it a Try!
I can’t recommend Golden Axe Throw enough. Ryan was a great host and instructor, and was really helpful both before and during my visit. I’ll definitely be going back again. If you’re looking for something different, definitely try this place out.