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Photo by Danielle Williams

Axe throwing: Even more fun than running with scissors

By Melissa Lefebvre on March 10, 2016

Put on your plaid and channel your inner Mufferaw Joe because we are going to BATL (Backyard Axe Throwing League).

BATL was started in founder Matt Wilson’s backyard in 2006 and quickly gained popularity around Toronto. Since then, it has exploded, and BATL locations can be found in eight cities across Canada, including one here in Ottawa as of October 2015.

Photo by Andre Scott

Photo by Andre Scott

How does it work?

The goal is simple. You throw the axe and try to hit the target where you get the most points. You get one point if your axe is in the blue ring, three points if it’s in the red ring, and five points if it’s in the black ring. You can also get a whopping seven points for hitting a small green circle at the top of the target, referred to as the “clutch.” This is a daring proposition, though. If you want to secure the seven points, you have to call “clutch” before you throw, and if the axe lands anywhere else (even a bull’s-eye), no points are awarded. Like they say on their website, it’s kind of like darts, but with axes.

How hard is it?

It’s easier than you think, but not too easy. It requires about the same level of physical exertion as bowling. One of my concerns was that I wouldn’t physically be able to pick up the axe and throw it all the way to the target. But no need to worry, the axes are pretty small and not very heavy. Even the big axe that comes out for tiebreakers – which I must admit, is a bit intimidating at first sight – is manageable.

One of the nice things about axe throwing is that it is accessible to people of varying ages, sizes, and athletic abilities, which has probably added to its mass appeal.

Photo by Melissa Lefebvre

Photo by Melissa Lefebvre

How do I sign up?

There are 3 different ways to take part in axe throwing at BATL.

1. Join an axe throwing league. They run for 8 weeks, and cost $119.47 +tax.

2. Drop in and practice your throw on Fridays from 4-10 or Saturdays from 2-10. Cost is $17.70+tax per hour.

3. Get a group together and sign up for an axe throwing event. Reservations are available 7 days a week from 10 am to 8 pm. Just go online, check their availability, and sign up for your event within minutes. The cost is $35.40+tax per person.

We put together a group of 15 people on a Sunday, and had our event on the Friday.

A group event starts with 45 minutes of coaching and practicing, followed by a tournament. We went just for the fun of it, but it’s popular for birthdays, bachelor/bachelorette parties, corporate events, you name it.

The best part about axe throwing (other than the pure satisfaction of throwing an axe) is that anyone can be good at it. If you are looking for a new, super cool activity to do here in Ottawa, you’ve just found it.

While we’ve all heard the saying “don’t run with sharp objects,” I think I may have just found a new hobby in throwing them.

BATL’s Ottawa location is at  2615 Lancaster Rd., Unit 29. For reservations or more information, see their website. You can also find BATL on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.