Securing scholarships to top U.S. golf universities and ultimately professional tour cards is the target for graduates of a new Dubai Sports City alliance unveiled Tuesday.

The Butch Harmon School of Golf at The Els Club, Dubai, and GEMS Sports Academy Dubai, have linked to provide the dual golf-academia pathway for talented 10-16 year olds.

A first of its kind in the region, the partnership links education provider GEMS with the Butch Harmon School which has seen students attain scholarships at the University of Southern California and the University of Tulsa in recent years.

Rayhan Thomas, the Dubai-adopted Indian amateur who sensationally made the cut at last week’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic, is a product of the school and continues to be coached by Director of Instruction, Justin Parsons. The 17-year-old eventually finished the European Tour event T60 following rounds of 68-75-74-74, the last of which he played in the company of reigning U.S. Masters champion Danny Willett.

“Since opening in 2009, we have been passionate about delivering developmental golf programs for young players,” said Parsons.

“With the link to GEMS Sports Academy, we can now work with some of the most talented players in the region and help them to attain scholarships to the U.S.”

Dubai Sports City President Khalid Al Zarooni added: “By combining the world-class facilities both at The Els Club and the Butch Harmon School of Golf with the GEMS Sports Academy, this will allow children to develop their talent whilst continuing their education.

“It’s truly unique and I look forward welcoming our new students.”