Axe throwing— throwing an axe to try to hit a target — is a fast-growing sport across the country including in Jacksonville.
At least four businesses are offering or planning to bring axe throwing to the city.
Among them is Class Axe, with locations across the country, including one at 9230 Arlington Expressway B in the Regency area. Class Axe is also establishing local leagues to be affiliated with the World Axe Throwing League.
Autobahn Indoor Speedway & Events also offers axe throwing. Best known for its indoor electric go-kart track, Autobahn is at 6601 Executive Park Court N., near Interstate 95 and Butler Boulevard.
Bad Axe Throwing has also announced plans to open in Jacksonville’s Springfield neighborhood at 1719 N. Main St., which is in the same block as Crispy's and Hyperion Brewing Co.
The establishment, which will combine a bar and axe throwing, is scheduled to open in the spring of 2020. It will also offer local leagues that will be affiliated with World Axe Throwing League. Bad Axe Throwing is a founding member of the league, according to Bad Axe founder Mario Zelaya.
Google Street View of Bad Axe Throwing's Future Springfield Location
Zelaya’s company has entered into a lease agreement for the Springfield location, with renovations getting underway.
“We start building other [axe throwing] lanes. We start putting in TVs. We do the bar buildout, ” said Zelaya.
Alcohol sales will be limited to beer.
“We actually purposely do not sell any hard liquor," he said. "All of our staff is trained.”
Zelaya said his staff keeps an eye on customers to make sure inebriation doesn’t become a potential issue.
“Our axe-bearing coaches are adequately trained, no different than a bartender, to know when to cut you off,” adding, “We’ve never had an insurance claim for any sort of major injury in our history.”
Bad Axe Throwing has opened more than 40 locations in the U.S, Canada and the United Kingdom over about six years, according to Zelaya.
He said axe throwing typically runs about $20 an hour for walk-ins, although his company focuses on corporate events, birthday parties and other group events.
The Backyard Axe Throwing League (BATL) has also announced plans to come to Jacksonville, although its website doesn’t list a location or specifics yet.
Like in bowling, leagues are becoming a stable of the axe throwing sport. Locations and leagues span the globe.
The World Axe Throwing League claims to be the largest of the leagues, with the World Axe Throwing Championship's airing earlier this month on ESPN.