I understand that the situation is not abnormal and therefore a local rule should not apply. But the answer, stating that there are many courses where a ball hit in certain areas is almost always lost or unplayable, makes a good case to me that the general rule should be changed. If its a pond then OK, penalty and drop. If its inpenetrable brush, stroke and distance - seems like an inconsistency to me since the situation is the same, except one involves water and the other involves a different type of terrain. As was stated in another post, the difficulty would be in describing what a "lateral non-water hazard" is and then enforcing it.
I agree: don't hit your ball into the impenetrable brush.