For most amateurs, trying to hit to the flagstick is not the thing to do, even though Harvey Penick said to take dead aim. For most players, the target should be the green rather than the flag. You need to aim for the fat area of the green that gives you the best chance for your next shot.
It’s like leaving your cue ball in billiards—you’re thinking a shot ahead. Golf is all about leaving your ball in the right place.
I heard about a study done with two groups of average golfers, one group playing with the flags in and the other with the flags out and not knowing where the holes were. The group playing with the flags out scored better.
We constantly talk on tour about being short-sided. The short side is the side closest to the flag where if you miss the green it’s very hard to stop the ball close to the hole coming back. The pins are being tucked tighter all the time on tour. We pros are precise, but we still pick our spots carefully when shooting at flags.