We’ve been eager to try axe throwing for a while, but a little nervous with the thought of impending death by blade. The trend of urban axe throwing has grown rapidly throughout the world, with many enjoying the thrill of mastering this skill and hitting the target. We booked it for our birthday treat and headed to the wonderful city of Liverpool to Hatchet Harry’s; we know, awesome name!
So, did we enjoy it? Is it worth the cost? Did we maim ourselves or anyone else and should you add it to your bucket list? The questions go on and on, and we promise, we have all the answers for you.
What is Urban Axe Throwing?
Traditionally axe throwing was an event in Canada during lumberjack competitions. But over the last five years there are more and more commercial throwing spots appearing. So, what is it?
Imagine the game of darts, but with a much bigger item to throw and that’s pretty much what you have with axe throwing. You stand in a lane which has barriers on the side and at the end is a target wall made up of wood. There is a line, known as the ‘foul line’ which you will stand behind to ensure you are safe, plus you have a better chance of getting the axe into the wall. As you can imagine the aim of the game is to throw an axe (or two), so it strikes the target on the wall.
The target itself is painted on and each circle gives the player a number of points if the axe hits and remains in the wall. The middle circle known as the bull’s eye has the highest number of points but is the hardest to hit. The further the axe lands away from the centre, the lower your points. At the end you can add up your points and see who the axe wielding champion is.
How to Book and the Cost at Hatchet Harry’s
Prices and methods of booking may be slightly different depending on who you book with, where you are based and how long you want to play for. But this should give you a general idea of the cost, so you can determine if you think it’s worth it.
We chose Hatchet Harry’s because they had a good reputation and we ended up getting more time for a lower price. They cater for group sizes from 2 to 66 and you can ask for private lanes for your group or a one-to-one session. Children aged 8 and over can join in with the fun, but under 18’s must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
When you head over to their site you will see a ‘book now’ button, which will take you through to the session options. There are two to choose from.
- 90 Minute Throw – For the first timers and people who are looking to improve their technique. You will have support from instructors who will go through the basics, including different types of throws and trick shots.
- 45 Minute Throw – A great option for those who have a little experience, although there will be help from coaches if you want to hone those skills.
As you can imagine we booked the 90-minute session for £21.00 per person, which is a pretty great price. The 45-minute throw is £14.99, but you may want to double up the time to really enjoy it.
After you have chosen the session, you will need to pick a date and then confirm how many people will be attending. You’ll then be prompted by the usual personal information and banking sections, which once filled in will complete the booking process.
Hatchet Harry’s will then send you an email with all of the details and a booking reference.
They are open Tuesday to Sunday with times varying depending on the day, so make sure you check out their website. Currently it’s:
- Tuesday to Friday – 16.30 to 21.30 (last booking 20.00)
- Saturday – 10.00 to 19.15 (last booking 17.45)
- Sunday – 11.00 to 16.00 (last booking 14.30)
Sadly, they don’t have a phone number to call, but you can contact them via Facebook messages should you need to.
What to Wear for Axe Throwing?
You don’t have to wear anything special and there’s no equipment given to you when you arrive at the venue. But comfortable is always best, especially because you’re walking up and down the lane quite a bit and, on your feet the whole session. It’s wise to wear longer tops as well, because you’re bending down all the time to pick up the axes after you’ve thrown them.
If you have any long jewellery, hooped earrings or big bracelets then maybe leave them at home or put them in your bag. They may get in the way when you’re throwing, because you’re lifting the axe above your head. Hatchet Harry’s didn’t have any lockers that we could see.
What Happens When You Arrive?
Hatchet Harry’s can be found on 8 Gibraltar Row, Liverpool L3 7HJ, which is close to the docks in Liverpool (more specifically Prince’s dock). There are a few parking spots outside the front of the venue, but it may be best to head to the huge NCP car park which is in walking distance.
They recommend that you arrive 10 to 15 minutes before your session starts. We arrived right at the start of our session and still managed to sort the waiver and begin. If you are too late, then you may not be allowed to join in with that group and will be moved to another.
When you walk in you will see a reception on the back wall and it is here you will be asked to sign a waiver. It’s on a tablet and you will fill in the usual personal information before reading the terms and conditions and signing that you agree.
After that it’s time to start your session, with the instructors going through the best stance to use, how to throw and the safety measures. Unless you’re incredibly talented, your axe is going to hit the floor more than the target. It’s a new skill, so it can take some time to get use to throwing, but the best way to learn is to just keep doing it.
Hatchet Throwing Techniques
You might not think it, but there are actually several ways in which you can throw an axe, as well as different types of axes. You won’t do them all, but you will get to try a few out.
During our Hatchet Harry’s 90-minute session we learnt the two standard throws, one handed single axe and two-handed single axe. You’ll then move onto the trick shots which are two axes at once, one axe backwards and two axes backwards. Finally, they have a large axe which you can try, but we prewarn you, this one isn’t for the faint-hearted as it is pretty heavy.
One Handed Single Axe Throw
When you begin your session at Hatchet Harry’s you will start off with a standard single hand throw. To perform this throw you will adopt a stance of one foot in front of you and the other behind you, with a slight bend in both knees.
If you are right handed then your left foot will be in front, whereas a left handed thrower will place their right foot forward. This is essential to keep your body alignment right and more importantly, maintain balance during the throw of the axe.
Hold the axe in your preferred hand with the blade facing forward and your fingers gripped towards the bottom of the handle. Extended your arm out keeping the axe at a 90 degree angle to your forearm. Draw the axe up and over your shoulder as you rock on to your back foot, with a bend in your elbow.
As you begin to bring the axe back down you need to rock forward on to your front foot, this will help to build momentum. Release the axe when it approximately gets to eye level with a stiff wrist, it is essential you don’t flick your wrist as this will affect the spin and trajectory of the axe.
Overhead Two Handed Single Throw
This is a slight variation on the single hand throw. Adopt the same stance but this time hold the axe directly in-front of you, placing your dominant hand in the same position and the other hand cupping the bottom of the axe; with your index and middle finger overlapping the bottom two fingers of your dominant hand.
Bring the axe up over the top of your head as you rock back and rock forward as you bring it back down releasing at eye level. If you found you struggled to get the axe in the board with the single hand throw, this option may be better suited to you. As you get some extra stability using both hands and with the axe centrally aligned to your body.
Upside Down Hatchet Throw
Once you have mastered the two traditional throws, your instructor will move on to some trick throws, where you can really show off your new found skills.
The first is the upside down throw, this is where the axe lands in the board with the handle facing towards the ceiling. We have to admit we loved this throw as it looked pretty fancy when you got the axe in the target.
This is performed exactly the same as a single handed throw, with the difference being the position of the axe. Grip the axe with the blade facing backwards, placing your index and middle fingers at the bottom of the handle. You should be able to close your ring and little finger underneath the handle for stability.
As with the stance, the throwing motion is the same as you would use to perform a standard single hand throw. You may have to adjust your standing position slightly for the upside down hatchet throw to get the axe to stick.
Two Handed Double Axe Throw
No, we’re not repeating ourselves, this is a different throwing style to the double handed overhead one. You are in fact just performing a single handed throw, but this time you will have a hatchet in each hand.
You will likely notice that only the axe thrown with your dominant hand sticks at first. This is perfectly normal as your other arm gets use to the throwing action. Everyone in our session got both axes to stick on at least one occasion and you could physically see their excitement and sense of achievement.
If you are feeling extra confident, then you should definitely try a two handed upside down hatchet throw.
Big Axe Throw
Now this can be a little daunting for some people, and not everyone in our session gave it a go. But as we’re bucket list lovers we couldn’t resist.
You are given a regular sized axe to throw, the type you would typically see a lumberjack use. As this is heavier than the hatchet’s, you need to adopt a completely different throwing action. It’s actually more like a run up.
Grip the axe with both hands at the bottom of the handle, your dominant hand should be above the other one; so right handers will place their right hand above their left. Slowly raise the axe up and over your head with it eventually resting on your lower back, it is essential that your hands remain above your head and not behind it in the starting position.
The instructor will point out where the starting line will be for the big axe throw. From there you will take two strides forward, starting with the same leg as your dominant hand; so that would be your right leg for right handers.
As you take your second stride, begin to lift the axe up and over your head. By the time your foot lands on the floor the axe should be high above your head, this is when you need to let go of the axe.
For beginners this is great fun and can yield some interesting results, but it’s worth noting that not a single person got the axe to stick. So don’t be disheartened if this happens to you, just give it a go.
Axe Throwing Tips
The best tip for throwing the axe is to have a solid stance, a strong grip on the handle, relax your arms and shoulders and follow through without twisting. If all of this sounds a little daunting, we recommend taking a look on YouTube before you go, just to get a basic idea. But we promise it’s easier than it sounds.
Tournaments and Club Night
There will be a tournament between yourself and the others in your lane through the session; but that’s only if you all want to. The instructor will explain how to work out the points and give you a white board and marker to fill out.
We felt that 90 minutes was enough time to really have a go at throwing the axes in those various styles. But as you can imagine it flew by, because of all the fun we were having. If you really enjoyed the session and you want to go back again, then Hatchet Harry’s has a Club Night on a Monday which is a great way to improve your new skills without an instructor. It’s currently £12.50 per session, or £39.99 for four sessions.
Aside from the usual facilities you would expect such as toilets, there’s not much else there apart from axes and targets. Within other axe throwing venues you will find bars, but not at Hatchet Harry’s. There’s no alcohol on their premises for safety reasons and they do not allow anyone under the influence to take part.
We would recommend bringing a bottle of pop, because it can get a little warm there and axe throwing is basically a workout.
Axe Throwing at Hatchet Harry’s in Liverpool – Is it worth it?
As we mentioned in the beginning, we had extreme trepidation about going axe throwing. But as with many new experiences we have tried since we began our bucket list, we absolutely loved it. Although we were stressed trying to get there with traffic, the welcome atmosphere and friendliness of the instructors soon calmed us down. Hatchet Harry’s isn’t a huge place, but it’s got everything you need.
You are shown a lot and given a lot of information including how to stand, hold the axe and throw. Don’t be frustrated if you don’t get it right away, it takes time and practice. But when that first axe hits the wall and stays there, it’s such a rush. We even managed to get two axes into the wall, three times in a row!
As long as you follow the instructor’s guidelines and keep aware that you are holding sharp instruments, then you should be fine. We could feel ourselves relax as the session went on. The big axe is something else, but it is a lot heavier than you expect so just be prepared.
We will prewarn you, axe throwing can be strenuous and so you may feel a little sore the following day. But it’s worth it and those extra calories can be used up on a few drinks to celebrate afterwards.
If you’re thinking about a day out with friends or family, then this is the ideal activity and can even be extended with a trip to Golf Fang (Ghetto Golf) Liverpool or even a Liverpool FC Stadium Tour. We’re planning our next session there because we’re hoping to ace that large axe. If you do go then please tag us in on Instagram, we love to see our readers tick another one off their bucket list.