Most people I see who lay up behind water end up duffing into the water on their next shout about 25-30% of the time at least. In order to force a lay up with an iron the water must require 50+ yards of carry. That's pretty daunting from anywhere if you are a weekend warrior. There is one hole on the course I where am in league that has a par 4 that's 397 that has a pond that cuts through the hole:
Most everyone in the league lays up to the 150 marker just short of the water and I see people duff it into the water fairly often. I take the blue line approach here with driver. If I push it it's playable on the other side of those trees, if I hit it straight it's in good position, if I hit my normal draw it's good and if I hit a hook it's short of the water anyway *which only happened 1 time this year*. Given that most people hit a slice I never understood why so many people lay up behind the water when their natural ball flight will take them away from the danger and leave them a shorter shot. I have not once put it in the water on this hole hitting driver. If you were to hit iron from the tee you'd have a long second shot over the water, a short shot to lay up behind the water, or play to the right of the water like I do from the tee. Problem is you are still going to play over the water to the right on your second shot even if you lay up to the right side. The only way I know to keep clear of the water is to hit driver here.