2018 – a year of birdies & eagles

I had been feeling for a while that my golf game is finally reaching a level that probably warrants a good forged-iron set and ‘invested’ on a set of custom-fitted PXG’s early in Jan this year. It took me a couple of months to get used to the feel of the new clubs and the game seemed to move into a higher gear after that.

This is reflected in most of the stats that I track. 178 birdies and 5 eagles is a good stat to start with – I didn’t think I would beat last years haul but I crossed that mark even before November was done. I don’t remember having had multiple Eagles in a year before, maybe 2 in a year would have been my average, so 5 is quite brag-worthy.  I think that it is also the first time that I have averaged sub-80 through an entire year – the average was 79.95 to be exact. I had 44 rounds in the 70’s – a significant improvement over last year. All of which means that I currently play off my lowest ever handicap – at 3.2. The highlight was a ‘scratch‘ round in November, which won me a trophy, and 3 rounds each of +1 and +2.

Two key birding landmarks were attained during the year, I snagged my 550th and 600th Indian bird during the year. My birding during the year covered the Desert National Park (Jaisalmer, Rajasthan) in Jan, Maguri Beel (Assam) & Mishmi Hills (Arunachal Pradesh) in April, Zuluk (Sikkim) in October and Pangti & Khonoma (Nagaland) in November. But the highlight for me will remain the one-day dash to catch the Critically Endangered Sociable Lapwing near Ahmedabad a couple of weeks back .

At 616, I know that the next few milestones would take time, but I am happy that I am starting to record species and photographs from states that I haven’t been to before.

It was also a year that we ticked off a bucket-list item – watching Roger Federer play on grass – this was in Halle (Germany) in June. Absolutely memorable experience (despite his loss in the finals) and one that I highly recommend for Fed-fans.

Roger Federer serving in the Gerry Weber Open finals against Borna Coric

Also happy that I have been a bit more regular on my blog-posts this year which drove a 20% increase in views and visitors and a 120% increase in likes – maybe I am starting to write better stuff as well.

Lets see what 2019 has in store. Wishing you and your family a very happy new year and a wonderful, nature-filled year ahead.

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