A charming tradition in golf is the ability to take a "mulligan" after a poor shot. Did you hit that ball into those woods? Let's just pretend it never happened. Go ahead and hit another ball.

If only our financial lives worked like that. Oops -- you say you forgot to stash money away for your golden years during your first 30 years of employment? No worries; here's $850,000 -- let's just say you saved scrupulously.

Fiscal bogies
I'm bringing up golf because I just ran across an interesting tidbit online. It seems that Golf Digest magazine and Nationwide FinancialServices (NYSE:NFS) recently released the results of a financial survey of golfers. You'd think that since golf is a "country club" sport, and not the least expensive hobby, the typical golfer would be a fiscally savvy sort. It doesn't seem that way, though. Check out these survey findings:

  • Nearly one-quarter of recreational golfers would rather win the Masters than receive $1 million toward their retirement. Yikes! This seems crazy to me, since $1 million can be almost enough for many people to retire on. But I'll let it slide, considering that if you win the Masters, you'll get a nice winner's purse, not to mention some endorsement money.
  • The golfers surveyed, whose average age was in the high 40s, had average savings of $289,000, and expected to need $1.3 million to retire comfortably. If you're 45, expect to retire at 65, and your $289,000 grows at the market's average annual rate of 10%, you'll end up with around $1.9 million -- so many golfers appear to be doing okay. According to our Rule Your Retirement newsletter service, in order to make your nest egg last, you should conservatively plan to withdraw about 4% of it per year in retirement. So 4% of $1.9 million is a little more than $75,000 a year. That doesn't seem so bad to me at all, but the average golfer probably wants more than that to live on, especially if he or she plans to travel to nice golf courses, like the one in Augusta, Ga. (I've noted before that a million dollars may not be enough.)
  • Many golfers' priorities seem to be a bit out of whack. It seems that 94% of golfers know how they could improve their game, but only 45% know how they could improve their saving and investing. Some 85% of golfers know how they did in their last round of golf, and 75% know their handicap, but only 52% know the current value of their portfolio. About three-quarters say they've increased the sum they spend on golf, but only about half have increased their retirement savings.

Invest in golf
If golf is taking a lot of your money (and even if it's not), consider making some money from the sport via investments. Here are a few recent Fool articles touching on golf-related concerns:

  • "Fortune Brands Shows Strength in Diversity" Anders Bylund discusses the diversified conglomerate Fortune Brands (NYSE:FO), which owns, among other things, the golf brands Titleist, Cobra, and FootJoy. Its other brands include Moen faucets, Therma-Tru door systems, Master Lock padlocks, Jim Beam, Maker's Mark, and Courvoisier.
  • "Callaway Back on the Fairway" Brendan Mathews looks at CallawayGolf (NYSE:ELY).
  • "Putting for Profits" This Tim Hanson article from last year gives a good overview of the golf firms mentioned above, as well as Nike (NYSE:NKE) and graphite shaft maker Aldila (NASDAQ:ALDA).
  • And finally, Mathew Emmert's "Stocks for Your Golden Years" discusses how you might want to invest for that golf-filled period in your life that looms ahead.

Don't leave your retirement to chance
So go ahead and golf all you want. But don't do so while ignoring your financial picture. Make sure your retirement planning is in order and your savings and investments are on track. If you're looking to secure a solid financial future for yourself, check out our Rule Your Retirement newsletter. A free trial will permit you to peek at all the past issues and see if it's right for you.

These articles may also be of interest:

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of no company mentioned in this article. For more about Selena, view her bio and her profile. You might also be interested in these books she has written or co-written: The Motley Fool Money Guide and The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens . The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.