Set up under the auspices of golf in DUBAi in 2006, the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation is committed to continually identifying and nurturing the talented youth in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region with the aim of producing a future generation of champions.

Aiming to grow the platform of golf with a specific focus on the region, the foundation will create new windows of opportunity for all emerging MENA national professionals and amateurs to not only hone their golfing skills, but also to enhance the overall development of golf in the region.

Named in honour of His Highness Shaikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the late Ruler of Dubai, the foundation seeks to provide MENA talent with an environment in which they can grow, express themselves personally and professionally and realise their dream of representing their country one day.

The MENA Golf Tour was launched in 2011 which has since has grown from four events in the inaugural 2011 season to nine in 2014, covering a vast expanse of the region with stops in Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Oman besides the UAE.

Each event carries a prize fund of $50,000 while the season-ending Tour Championship boasts $75,000 in prize money. Affiliated to R&A, the worldwide golf governing body based in the home of golf, St Andrews, and the Arab Golf Federation, it is the only tour which is open to amateurs as well.

With promotion of golf at the heart of their mission, the tour instituted the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation Award in 2014 to recogonise the region's top-3 amateur and professional performances. Open to MENA nationals, the award, valued at $52,00 in cash and gift certificates.

The top three professionals and the leading amateur on their respective Orders of Merit are invited to compete in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in continuation of the tour's policy to substantially enhance the careers of its members.

A direct entry into the main draw of the Hassan II Trophy for the leading professional and exemptions to the Final Stage of Asian to the Final Stage of Asian Qualifying School for the top three professionals are the added incentives for the tour members.