When japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came to Washington for a summit meet- ing with President Obama last Friday, he came bearing a golf gift. Abe handed the First Golfer a Japanese-made Yamada putter. A right-handed version of it -- a center-shafted, milled carbon steel blade called the "Stick of Life" -- is pictured here. Obama, of course, was given a left-handed model.
Abe's late grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, was prime minister and played golf with then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1957. Tohru Yamada, who has been designing putters in Japan for 20 years, says he was contacted by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs the week of Abe's trip to the United States and was asked to send a left-handed putter and his Dream54 putting training device. "I do not know about the future, but this is a good story for my business," says Yamada, who is planning to produce a special hand- made putter to send to the president as well.