Another women's golf event is planned for the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in Saudi Arabia ©Getty Images

Women's golf has continued its controversial expansion into Saudi Arabia with the country named as one of four hosts for the Ladies European Tour's (LET) new Aramco Team Series.

Four tournaments will make up the circuit this year - including the finale at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club near Jeddah.

The other three events are due to take place in New York, London and Singapore with each offering a prize purse of $1 million (£722,000/€825,000).

It carries on the Saudi interest in women's golf which began in September with the announcement of two tournaments worth a combined $1.5 million (£1.2 million/€1.3 million).

The Aramco Saudi Ladies International then became the first women's golf event ever to take place in Saudi Arabia between November 12 and 15, with Denmark's Emily Kristine Pedersen coming out on top.

This was followed by the Saudi Ladies Team International from November 17 to 19, which was again won by Pedersen.

Saudi Arabia has now been described as one of the "biggest backers" of women's golf but bringing tournaments to the country has attracted criticism due to the Kingdom's women's rights record.

Women were only given the right to drive in 2018 and although the strict male guardianship system has been relaxed, Government critics such as Loujain al-Hathloul remain in jail.

Amnesty International describes "systematic discrimination" with critics accusing Saudi authorities of attempting to use sport to distract from wider issues.

In response, Saudi Arabia has claimed it is improving the country's record.

"This brand new Aramco Team Series takes golf and the sport to a whole new level and I am incredibly excited by all four events," said LET chief executive Alexandra Armas. 

"Last November, the LET made history in bringing the first-ever professional women's golf event to Saudi Arabia, and this announcement only builds on that. 

Emily Kristine Pedersen won two tournaments in Saudi Arabia last year ©Getty Images
Emily Kristine Pedersen won two tournaments in Saudi Arabia last year ©Getty Images

"By adding four new team events to our schedule for 2021, the Ladies European Tour will add a whole new dynamic for both the players competing and the spectators, taking golf to newly engaged audiences across the globe."

More details on the new Series are expected soon.

"This is fantastic news for global sport, for women's golf and for Saudi Arabia," said Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the chairman of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi.

"Following the success of the Aramco Saudi Ladies International, we are committed to building the women's game and promoting female participation in sport in Saudi Arabia. 

"I hope this series inspires people of all cultures and backgrounds to take up the sport and generate enthusiasm for the great game of golf."

Earlier this month, Golf Saudi claimed the sport's impact on people in the country had already been proven after a scheme called "The Social Agenda" was launched during the November tournaments.

This has three goals - to boost the environment, strengthen the economy and provide opportunities to local people.

Initiatives include an internship scheme for new graduates at Golf Saudi and an access programme for disabled people and the children of veterans, at courses around the country.

A "Ladies First" club has also been launched.

Legendary American player Jack Nicklaus, who holds the record for most major wins with 18, has confirmed he will be designing a course in Saudi Arabia.

The championship venue is planned for Qiddiya. 

Last week, American world number one Dustin Johnson won the men's version of the Saudi International for the second time.