Axe throwing is a sport that is gaining in popularity across Saskatchewan, and if you want to try your hand at it in Yorkton, well, you're in luck. Bunker's Indoor Golf is the first and only facility that has an axe throwing range, and it's a sport that is surprisingly addictive.
Yorkton This Week talked to owner Cam Koch about the range, how the sport operates, and even gave us a lesson on how to throw the axe.
Koch has run Bunker's since 1998, and it is the go-to facility for those wanting to keep their golf game sharp through the winter.
“I had a business partner that was very much into golf and I thought it would be a viable venture and so he and I partnered up and started Bunkers Indoor Golf. Our partnership went its separate ways back in 2003, and I've been the sole owner since then. I had hoped for a busy winter and a slow spring and summer, and it turned into a mediocre winter and nothing in the spring and summer because people go outside,” Koch says with a laugh.
The facility has staying power, though, due in no small part to the unique sports that reside within its walls. Axe throwing is definitely unique, but it is absolutely a bona fide sport that requires every bit of skill and mettle you would expect in a major competitive athletic event.
“It's the axe I went to that is that that's new for this year. I had this space that was empty. It used to be the entry and move the entry to the opposite side of the building and had all this empty space. So now I store the golf clubs instead of in here up in the shelves and the racks. I had heard that axe throwing was becoming more and more prevalent through the province – Regina, Saskatoon, PA, and Moose Jaw, so I figured I'd give it a shot. I checked with Sask Liquor and Gaming to see if it would okay to do it in a lounge setting and after they inspected it, they gave me the green light to go ahead.
There are two different leagues of Axe Throwing. One is the World Axe, and its rules and regulations are the ones the Bunkers facility follows. There's also a national axe throwing but it utilizes a larger footprint of space. The way the range is set up is fairly straightforward.
“You have two players in the booth at a time, and they'd each throw an axe,” says Koch.
“Of course, only when they've thrown their axe do they cross the line to retrieve their axe [for safety]. they each only have one axe.
“So, they'll throw that, then player B. Once, twice, four times on the fifth shot. They have the option of going for those little red dots on the top of the target area.”
These shots are known as the “kill shots”.
“Those dots are worth eight points, but they have to call that shot. Or they throw the fifth shot Direct. There they hit anywhere else. They get zero points. The bullseye is six points. The next ring is four, three, two, and one total score after around is the winner of that particular game.”
It's harder than it looks. The instinct is to whip the axe, but follow through is key to getting the axe to stick. You don't want the axe to spin, because it will simply bunt and fall to the ground. You want to throw the axe with a similar follow through to actually cutting wood, but you need a steadier hand and finding the right amount of force to apply can take a few attempts. As mentioned before, it is addictive.
“It's a big hit on date nights,” laughs Koch.
The amount of fun is ridiculously high, but the price for it, fortunately isn't.
You get the axe throwing range for $40/hr.
“Lots of people come in with their friends and split it up, and it's great for team building too.”
Want to try? Call Bunker's at (306) 786-4653.
If you get hooked on the sport, well...don't say we didn't warn you.