I come up with a completely subjective rating based on a number of factors, including (roughly in weighted order):

-Course design

-Course maintenance

-Overall value for your greens fee

-Proximity to nearby civilization (i.e. likely travel time to the course)

-Pace of play

-Customer Service

-Other minor factors including bar/grill on-site, attractiveness of beer cart grrls, proximity to a good bar, etc.

THE SCALE (Here's what a rating # means):

1-  This place is laughable.  Beyond dog track.  More rocks in the fairways than grass.  I wouldn't put cows out to pasture here, let alone try to hit golf shots here.

2-  Dog track.  Crappy design.  Awful maintenance.  More dirt than grass.  Not even worth a bargain greens fee with a serious golf jones and no other options.

3-  Dog track, mostly crappy design, bad maintenance, not worth your money unless you're completely desperate for a last-minute golf fix.

4-  Kinda vaguely almost worth playing, but only if it's empty and it's a bargain greens fee.

5-  A below average course, a couple interesting holes, borderline maintenance, not worth what they charge for it.

6- A slightly below average course by modern standards, a few interesting holes but still alot of ho-hum, below average maintenance.

7- An average course by modern standards, a few interesting holes, average conditions, average pace of play (~5 hours), worth an average green fee for that area.

8- An above average upscale course with a great hole or three and a few other interesting features, with somewhat above average conditions, pretty good pace of play, probably worth the occasional splurge over your normal golf budget.

9- A kick ass course, fun original design, good-to-great maintenance, bordering on worth once-a-year type greens fees.

10- To me, the perfect golf course would be nearly impossible to design or afford in today's day and age... I picture 18 seaside holes, world class conditions, a great tiki bar for a clubhouse, a Gentlemen's club 1/2 mile down the road right next to a BBQ joint and a great pizza shop, scantily-clad former Hooters girls as cart grrls, $2 beers, and green fees under $100.  See what I mean?

As a point of comparison (and because I reference it frequently), here's Golf Digest's rating scale:

Golf Digest Star Rating Explanation
Course ratings are derived from the exclusive 5-star Golf Digest Places to Play scale. A single star represents "basic golf." Five stars indicates "golf at its absolute best." Golf Digest's Best Places to Play guide, based upon the ratings of tens of thousands of readers, is available for $24.95.

1 star- Basic golf.
2 stars- Good, but not great.
3 stars- Very good. Tell a friend it's worth getting off the highway to play.
4 stars- Outstanding. Plan your next vacation around it.
5 stars- Superb. Golf at its absolute best. Pay any price to play at least once in your life.