Golden Bear Jack Nicklaus will find out this week if his £80 million signature golf course in Stonehaven will be given the go ahead.
Proposals by FM Group for an 18-hole championship course and 90 homes on the Ury Estate were recommended for refusal because of their impact on an ancient forest.
However, when the plans went before the Kincardine and Mearns area committee – also with a recommendation for refusal – councillors went against the suggestion and approved the plans.
A full meeting of Aberdeenshire Council will make a final determination of the application on Thursday.
A campaign by the Woodland Trust calling for councillors to reject the proposals has seen more than 2,100 emails sent to elected members.
Charles Dundas, from the charity, said: “I just hope that the councillors won’t be dazzled by a celebrity into U-turning on their existing planning policy, and will think about the huge environmental damage that destroying this woodland would cause.
“Any proposed soil relocation or compensatory planting is simply inadequate.”
But local councillors believe it will bring visitors flocking to Stonehaven and are keen to move forward.
The proposed development on the Ury Estate with 90 houses would be the only course in the UK within the global Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Family which comprises 25 countries.
The Forestry Commission raised serious concerns as approximately half of the proposed houses and four holes of the golf course will erode a large area of the long established ancient woodland.
Mitigation has been proposed by the applicant in the form of soil relocation and compensatory re-planting to enhance woodland links throughout the estate.
Although the mitigation has been supported by the Forestry Commission, the general principle of losing so much of the ancient woodland was not something they could support.
A spokeswoman for the FM Group said: “We are very sensitive to the natural environment and aim to do everything we can to improve the natural surroundings and make them more accessible for everyone to enjoy.
“Ury is fortunate to contain a huge amount of bio-diversity and the aim is to protect and enhance that.
“Around 17 hectares (42 acres) is designated as ancient woodland but much of this doesn’t comprise trees, but rather poor quality grassland, bracken and rushes.”