The relationship between architect and general contractor can often be difficult. The two entities simply have different goals. The architect is trying to make a statement by designing a quality, original, and memorable product for the developer. The general contractor’s goal is to build a good product but at a profitable rate.
As for golf course design, a golf course architect cannot stipulate his exact design intention through grading plans. A 200 acre canvas will have plenty of interpretation from the person that actually builds the product, the shaper. This includes the rough shaping, the final shaping, and even the grassing.
People often ask me what separates Pete Dye from other architects. There are many answers to that question but the most significant difference is that Pete builds his own design ideas. The thought of an architect actually getting on a bulldozer or tractor seems almost asinine, but that is the most valuable lesson I learned from him. There is simply no loss in translation between design and construction in a design/build setting. Additionally, design intentions will evolve productively throughout the construction process as the design elements begin to take shape.
Very few architects are willing to take the time to learn to operate bulldozers or enjoy working outside of the office. As I have often said, the last person to touch a golf hole before it is planted may have the most affect on the final product.