John Key beats Barack Obama after tense golf play-off

The 'Golfer-in-Chief' was not exactly diplomatic about his own putting - in fact, to use a Kiwi term, he was pretty gutted.

According to a text sent to Newshub by Sir John Key, Barack Obama was playing as part of a 'Team US' against his 'Team New Zealand'.

The competition was close, ending all square after 18 holes. It came down to two play-off holes, which saw the Kiwi team come away triumphant.

Sir John's text says Mr Obama loved the course and wants to come back. He's said to have loved the scenery and was relaxed throughout the game. 

Mr Obama was wearing the turquoise polo shirt on the 14th hole, Sir John in black - snapping a photo on his phone.

When it came to Sir John's turn at the tee, Barack Obama took a 'money shot' of his own - of the scenery. The view of the Pacific Ocean is what the Kauri Cliffs course is renowned for.

The elegant left-hander was hitting the ball quite nicely down the fairway, but when it came to putting - it wasn't "yes we can", but more "no I can't".

Twice Mr Obama missed putts he clearly wanted to get, but he was definitely happy with John Key's company - a golfing bromance. Sir John liked one shot - and got a high-five from the former President.

It was no ordinary golf game, starting with a midnight arrival in a private jet, then, after a quick kip, off to play in a motorcade.

The Key family arrived first - Sir John, Lady Bronagh and son Max along for the ride.

Then came the 44th President of the United States of America - who gave a quick wave, fuelling up on a Kiwi-made coffee - before taking off via helicopter on a 45 minute trip from Auckland to Kauri Cliffs.

The trip was documented on Max Key's Instagram.

The foursome was made up of Craig Heatley - one of New Zealand's richest people - and a champion amateur golfer. Along for the ride was Mark Gilbert, the former US Ambassador and a friend of Mr Obama.

It was John Key who had the "shot of the day" - but "play of the day" went to Barack Obama, for helping a rival player find his ball in the rough.

There's a private dinner at The Landing tonight for about a dozen people. Guests include Sir John and Lady Bronagh, Mr and Mrs Gilbert, and Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon alongside his wife.

On Thursday, more golf - Barack Obama will play at Tara Iti, near Mangawhai, rated one of the top ten courses in the world.

A nice little warm-up before he meets the Prime Minister and appears at his event tomorrow night.