The 1938 U.S. Open was the 42nd U.S. Open, held June 9–11 at Cherry Hills Country Club in Englewood, Colorado, a suburb south of Denver. Defending champion Ralph Guldahl won his second straight U.S. Open title, six strokes ahead of runner-up Dick Metz. It was the second of Guldahl's three major titles.
Metz owned a four-stroke lead over Guldahl after Saturday morning's third round, but Metz struggled in the afternoon and shot a 79 (+8) to finish at 290 (+6). Guldahl began his round with two birdies in his first six holes on his way to a 69 (–2) and an even-par 284 total, six strokes ahead of Metz. His six-shot victory was the largest since Jim Barnes won by nine strokes in 1921. Guldahl became the fourth player to successfully defend at the U.S. Open, joining Willie Anderson, John McDermott, and Bobby Jones. There have only been two since: Ben Hogan in 1951 and Curtis Strange in 1989.
In the second round, Ray Ainsley set a dubious record by shooting a 19 on the par-4 16th hole. Ainsley's ball landed in a creek, and instead of taking a drop he continued to play the ball out. He shot 96 (+25) for the round and missed the cut.
This was the first U.S. Open played in the western United States. The U.S. Open returned in 1960 and 1978, and the PGA Championship was played here in 1941 and 1985. The average elevation of the course exceeds 5,300 feet (1,620 m) above sea level.
This was the first U.S. Open in which the players were limited to a maximum of 14 clubs; the USGA rule (4-4) went into effect in January 1938. Guldahl won the title the previous year with 19 clubs in his bag.