I agree entirely with your comments Jon. But the question was whether or not they actually know how far it is to the target. Inaccurate guessing is unlikely to get the job done.
In the old days good golfers would play their shots and then pace off the distance to where the ball finished. If it was long or short they would compensate for the next time they had a similar looking shot or the next time they played the same hole.
When good golfers practised they paced off the distance to their bunch of balls and took the average and became aware of distance and carry via the visual and perception.
Being able to estimate distances is something that becomes a learned skill and not a figure on your GPS. Any given distance as a figure is only relevant if you can actually hit the ball in a particular fashion to get it there !
Sometimes it's better to hit your 8 iron onto the green via carry and try to stop the ball, sometimes it's smarter to run the ball onto the green with a different club but the end results can be the same.
Just comes down to the skill of the golfer and how they see or feel the shot at hand.
Knowing the exact distance has little to do with either approach and getting the ball onto the green.
If more players used their instincts to play via a solid practise regime, rather than a figure driven by their GPS unit, they would find the joy of the game again !