Manager Francesco DiNardo

Manager Francesco DiNardo demonstrates his one hand axe throwing technique.

I’d like to think I’m a pretty open-minded person. I enjoy trying out new things, whether it be a food, clothing trend or activity. Having said that, when I heard about Lumberjaxes, I was instantly ready to give it a whack (see what I did there?). 

Lumberjaxes Axe Throwing facility is what Manager Francesco DiNardo calls an “experiential activity.” When you walk into the “arena,” there is a small bar area to the right, plastic picnic tables down the middle and what sort of look like batting cages to the left. Except in these lanes, you’re not hitting softballs… you’re throwing axes. 

Who would have thought axe throwing would be a great way to relieve stress – or that it would become such a popular trend? 

It all started with a group of friends in Toronto in 2006. A man named Matt Wilson and his friends enjoyed tossing axes in Matt’s backyard and decided to open their own competitive axe-throwing business so that everyone could try their hand at it. 

When Corey Deasy and Angelo DiNardo visited Canada in 2016, they attended an axe throwing competition and wanted to bring the fun back with them to Tempe. This facility was the first to open in Arizona, in February 2018. 

Every group gets its own personal coach that first goes through the safety spiel: never hand off an axe to another person, never try to catch or kick an axe that bounces off the wall, etc. The wooden target is painted with a giant bullseye and the boards are moistened to soften them and keep them from getting entirely destroyed. Then, the fun begins and you can start throwing. 

Three lines painted on the ground provide guidance on the best locations from which to throw an axe. You can pretty much grip and throw however you feel comfortable, but the coaches suggest holding it at the bottom with two hands, lifting the axe behind your head and then stepping forward and throwing it. So, that’s what I did. And I nailed it, right at the bottom of the wooden target (see left). 

I went with a competitive friend, so he was all about hitting the middle of the bullseye. There are also two dots painted at the top of the board, above the bullseye, that are a little bigger than a half-dollar. These are tough to hit and are worth the most points. 

I didn’t know how I was going to feel about it, especially since I lack any sort of upper body strength, but once you start throwing, it’s really hard to stop. It’s exhilarating. 

Our coach explained that for those looking for a challenge, it’s best to bring six or more people, which allows for a tournament-style competition. With at least six, two people compete at a time and earn points for hitting certain areas of the target. There are three rounds of five throws for each person – 75 points is considered a perfect game. There are also a few other games people can play if they choose. 

Lumberjaxes doesn’t have any food available for purchase on-site, but it has an agreement with Venezia’s Pizza as well as five other establishments allowing for food delivery. There are soft drinks available including water, Red Bull and Gatorade, but if you’re looking for something a little stronger, you are allowed to bring in your own alcohol – just no hard liquor. 

After several attempts, I didn’t hit the target, but I did eventually get the axe to stick, which was exciting. Your competitive side will definitely come out, even if you don’t have one. If you’re looking for something fun and different to do, axe throwing really hits the mark. 

For more: axethrowingphx.com