There are two answers, depending on what "take full advantage” means for you:
First: No, I didn’t learn a whiff of Go, and I love using Hugo for a blog. I use one of the pre-existing themes, so I didn’t do any design work. The things I needed to know were:
- how to use basic Git functions with GitHub from the command-line;
- how to edit a YAML or TOML template (or JSON) to plug in my metadata. I didn’t know this in advance, but is pretty obvious when you look at the examples;
- how to write Markdown;
- given how I chose to deploy, how to down download and install a script. Using the
deploy.sh script seemed to me the fastest way to deploy my site. Putting my site online requires just the commands
hugo -d dist and
./deploy.sh, as described here.
That’s all the technical knowledge required to use Hugo. No Go.
Second answer: if you’re designing a business site, you may want to edit or design your own theme, and to take full advantage of Hugo in that sense, you’d need to learn Go. Go is required for theme design.