Archery might not seem like the most obvious activity for those looking for something to do on the evening or weekend, but it just might be a lot more accessible and fun then you would imagine. Edward O’Neill went along to channel his inner-Legolas.
Sometimes it can be hard to think of places to go for a good date in Dongguan. There are plenty of cinemas about, but there are only so many movies you can see. Bowling can be fun, but there aren’t many alleys around. Keyuan Garden and Nanshe Village are must sees, but once you saw them once then you there’s no need to go back. So when a friend suggested I try archery at Solo then I was intrigued.
When it comes to archery my experience is limited to playing a virtual reality game at VR Inspace a couple of months back for the magazine. While I had done quite well at the game, I will be the first to admit that there are probably a fair few differences between using a bow and arrow in virtual reality and in, well, reality.
When I arrived at Solo Archery I was surprised by the layout. It looks more like a cool café than it does an archery range. The décor was minimalist; low lighting, plywood walls and cool stencils, a slick bar top to order drinks, and scattered coffee tables to sit back and enjoy them.
The instructor at the range didn’t speak English. I worried it would be a problem at first, but I found he was able to explain how to do it well enough with gestures. I let the instructor show my colleague first and I watched them get the hang if it after a few tries. Next up was me.
Reaching into the quiver I pulled out an arrow. With the red flecting pointing away, I hooked the arrow into the bow the same way that the instructor had. I stretched back the arrow in the bow, surprised by the tension, and held it ready to fire. The bull’s-eye lined up perfectly in my sight. Aimed slightly higher just like a friend had told me to. I took a deep breath and let go. The arrow stuck in the bow and wobbled a bit. My colleague laughed out loud. Oh well. Let’s try that again.
One stuck into the floor which luckily nobody saw. I fired several way above the target which answered the question I had earlier about why the whole wall needed to be covered in foam. One managed to fall out of the bow and just drop to the floor like a sad, forlorn arrow. In my defense, however, by the end I did manage to hit the target a few times by the end. I won’t say out of how many attempts, but I did hit the target and nobody can take that away from me.
I’m not going to be representing Ireland in archery at the Olympics any time soon, or cast as Legolas’s stunt double in a remake of Lord Of The Rings, but I had a great time. Try it out for an alternative date. It could even make for an intense team building exercise or as a different kind of sport to get your kids involved in.
Prices aren’t bad either. For a thirty minute session it costs 48RMB, and 68RMB for a hour. Both prices include a complimentary drink. If you fancy a few lessons then you can get 3 classes for 188RMB, which might be a sound investment for me.