LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan and LET Board chair Marta Figueras-Dotti shake hands on the agreement ©Ladies European Tour

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and the Ladies European Tour (LET) are uniting in a joint venture partnership to push women's professional golf to new heights in Europe and around the world.

The venture will be jointly managed by the LPGA and the LET and, through their combined resources, will seek to fast track an expanded LET schedule.

This year's LET schedule currently includes only 20 official events in 13 different countries, with eight of those in Europe, including two major championships - The Evian Championship and the Women's British Open.

The partnership aims to immediately increase playing opportunities for women in Europe, and to have that schedule growth lead to both increased financial opportunities and an optional pathway to the LPGA for the tour's top performers.

It is claimed the combination of the LET's European expertise and relationships in the region, with the LPGA's global strength and worldwide exposure, and their shared vision for the future of women's professional golf and growth of the game, provides the core ingredients to ignite a tour loaded with upside potential.

Players have expressed their concerns about the financial position of the LET Tour, claiming that the lack of tournaments has made it hard for them to earn a living.

They voted their support for the joint venture partnership, however, during the continental governing body's annual membership meeting in Spain on Tuesday (November 26).

"Two teams, joining for one common purpose, will create opportunities we simply could not have pursued on our own," Marta Figueras-Dotti, chair of the LET Board, said.

"At its foundation, this joint venture is about creating opportunities for our members to pursue their passion, and their careers as professional athletes.

“In just the 60 days since we began working on this joint venture, we have already seen a dramatic impact on our LET Tour schedule - an impact that will be a positive result for virtually all of our LET members."

The LPGA and LET are said to share a common vision to strengthen the presence of women's golf in Europe.

It is claimed a thriving, Europe-based women's professional tour is critical to help women from the continent pursue their dreams through the game of golf, and for the overall health and growth of the game globally.

Furthermore, it is stated a strong women's tour in Europe will expose millions of young girls to the great athletes, leaders and role models of the LET, helping to inspire the next generation of players.

"This is an exciting next step for the LPGA's mission to provide more opportunities for women in this game," LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan said.

"Over the past 10 years, the LPGA has had tremendous success partnering with other golf stakeholders, including the USGA (United States Golf Association), PGA (Professional Golfers' Association) Tour, European Tour, R&A (Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews) and PGA of America, to enhance opportunities for women worldwide.

"We are thrilled to deepen our relationship with the Ladies European Tour in an effort to create the strongest possible women's tour in Europe.

"We have experienced incredible growth in women's golf in the US, and this is an extraordinary opportunity to accelerate and expand the game in Europe as well.

"I'm excited that this is something we will build together, with the LET."

It was earlier announced that the LET Order of Merit will be renamed the "Race to Costa del Sol" from 2020.

The "Race to the Costa del Sol" will offer a bonus prize fund of €250,000 (£213,000/$275,000), to be split between the top-three finishers.

The Andalucia Costa del Sol Open, which starts today, will also have its prize money doubled from next year.

The prize pot for the event in 2020 will be €600,000 (£511,000/$661,000).