Recognized nationally as one of the top amateur players of the early 1900’s, Robert A. Gardner was born in Hinsdale, IL, and attended Yale University in New Haven, CT, graduating in 1912. While a freshman at Yale, Gardner won the 1909 United States Amateur Championship held at Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton, IL, and at the time was the youngest ever to do so at the age of 19 years and 3 months. In 1915 Gardner won his second U.S. Amateur Championship at the Country Club of Detroit in Grosse Pointe Farms, MI. He would go on to finish as the runner-up two additional times in 1916 and 1921.
An outstanding multi-sport athlete, Mr. Gardner was captain of both the golf team and the track team at Yale. In 1912, he set a world record of 13-feet, 1-inch in the pole vault at the National Intercollegiate Championships in Philadelphia, PA. He was the first person to ever vault over 13 feet. A member of the Racquet Club of Chicago, Gardner teamed up with collegiate friend Howard Linn and together, won the 1926 National Squash Racquets Doubles Championship.
In 1917, Gardner enlisted in the United States Army, where he would serve as a lieutenant in a field artillery unit in France during World War I. Following the war he returned home to Chicago and joined securities and brokerage firm Mitchell, Hutchins & Co., where he spent his business career as a partner.
Gardner played on the first four Walker Cup teams (1922, 1923, 1924, 1926) and served as playing captain for his last three. He finished runner-up in the 1911 Western Amateur Championship and 1920 British Amateur Championship and won the Chicago District Amateur Championship three times (1916, 1924, 1925), one of only three people in the history of the Championship with three victories.
A leader of the famed Yale Glee Club, Gardner served as Vice President of the United States Golf Association from 1921-1925 and as President of the CDGA from 1924-1927.