Gone are the days when golf apparel meant the Tommy Bahama-type ish that your best friend’s dad tucked his beer belly in. Gone are the days when golfwear was just about the trash middle-aged men with unruly graying goatees, in cycling glasses (Where is your bike, though? Where?!), unbearably short shorts, and outlet-store visors. Golf’s getting a makeover, and one that’s not as embarrassing as your pop recounting your awkward pubescent years to your new girlfriend.
The reality is that golf is stepping into the 21st century with the help of some of the most influential tastemakers in men’s fashion. Following up our profile of avid golf and professional style personality Angel Ramos, we turn our attention to Marcus Troy, the businessman, entrepreneur, and cultural curator who has built an empire making millennial fashion rubes relevant. Today, he travels the world, collaborating with brands on innovative campaigns, soaking in everything from runway presentations to trade shows, and sharing his insights on all-things fashion on his namesake site.
Hearing his story, it becomes apparent why he’s become every poppin’ brand’s go-to guy, and one of the faces of Nike Golf’s campaign that extends beyond the links. Refined, relevant, and culturally attuned, Marcus Troy is the epitome of a new-millennium gentleman. He’s a young, hungry creative with a fresh perspective that runs with an enviable roster of this generation’s finest. On any given day, you can find him on a shoot with Golden State Warriors’ Andre Iguodala, paling around with the president of Bentley, Christophe Georges, or, well, putting on the green with Nike. His reach is endless, which is what makes Nike Golf x Marcus Troy the perfect pairing.
First and foremost, do you golf?
I just started playing this summer and I got the bug. I actually have aspirations to start a golf club. Now I have some cool gear, and I want to get my friends together to play. It’s relaxing, yet you challenge yourself daily to beat your record over and over.
In the past, golf’s been looked at as a middle-aged, well-off white man’s game. How can golf be more accessible to everyone else?
There are a lot of preconceived notions about golf. People aren’t really aware about how to get into the game, how much it costs to play on different courses, and how good you actually have to be. Besides the fashion, you have to explain to people how you can play the sport well, where you can find affordable lessons if you need to take them, where you can actually play, as well as the rules of the game. There’s also a huge business aspect to golf where meetings and business moves happen on the course.
Golf should be an inclusive sport, one where you can have fun with other people, and you should be able to look cool and feel cool and dress cool when you play the game that you love.
How would you describe your personal style and how it aligns with the new direction that golf apparel is headed?
I believe Nike to be a company that innovates. It’s a company that puts emphasis on technology and discovering what athletes like and dislike. My perception of what Nike does is if I’m going to be playing a sport, I assume that Nike has figured out the angles of what an athlete would like, from apparel to footwear.
When I’m playing golf, I want to play in the best, in the most comfortable and functional pieces, and Nike is one of the leaders of the pack when it comes to those things I appreciate.
Nike’s new golf apparel is all about versatility. More than just being functional on the course, it wants to be something you wear off of it—something that reflects your personality. Your thoughts?
Brands, especially today, always want to target personalities and what they’re into. It makes the connection to the brand a lot more authentic. Wanting to get into the lives of people that like the brand or the product is always cool. I identify more when I see brands connecting with people on an individual level. I truly appreciate Nike Golf and what they’re doing; I love the style. I would wear their [new] gear outside of golf, so I'm always ready to hit the course.
How do you think golf apparel has evolved over the years?
I never really paid attention to golf apparel over the years. It’s like when it was raining outside and your mother gave you that yellow rain jacket that you probably hated, but you wore it because it was just a rain jacket. You wore it for function. Then over the years, people figured out how to make rain jackets look cool, so you wouldn’t have to look crazy on the streets. That’s the same way I looked at golf.
However, I always knew that if I played golf, I would want to be cool while playing it. Now that there’s a lane for guys like me to dress cool and play the sport, that’s awesome. Take basketball back in the day: The uniforms weren’t that fresh, and some of the guys in the sport decided to wear it how they wanted to wear it, whether it be black socks like Michael Jordan or colored shoes. Nike evolved what the sport could look like. It’s happening in golf now.
So much of what you wear affects your confidence and how you carry yourself, which is essentially what you’re saying about feeling cooler about playing golf now. But speaking of, does golf as a sport reflect your approach to life or career at all?
I never appreciated it back then. It was a sport of patience; I wasn’t that patient of a person. I thought golf was boring. I didn’t see the challenge. As I evolved myself, evolved in business, and started getting invited to go play golf, I fell in love with the idea of being on the green and challenging myself and playing as an individual. I like the solitude, I like my time, I like concentrating and focusing, and I like beating my own record.
As menswear, sportswear, and streetwear have evolved, how has your personal brand evolved with it over the years?
There are a few misconceptions about what I do. First, I pride myself on being a creative. That’s what I do first and foremost. I use blogging as a portal for some of my thoughts on style and fashion—things that I’m passionate about. I don’t like to refer to myself as a blogger. I enjoy collaborating with people, with brands.
Over the years, I’ve turned what I do into a media company where I consult with brands and companies. I work with celebrities. I help people start their own brand. I just evolved into a business guy, into running a small team of creatives who like to do cool things with cool people. We get a real sense of accomplishment when we’re actually bringing things to fruition, curating things, collaborating with my twin brother [Ahmad], who’s a photographer, and really helping tell brand stories and navigate this world. As I evolve more, I aspire to inspire people to want to be their greatest self, and I’m using different mediums to spread that propaganda.
So much of what you read about success stories today is that it’s all about the hustle. What would you say to millennials today who want to do what you do?
I don’t like the world hustling because I feel that it’s negative. I feel like when you’re hustling, you’re trying to get over on people. I live by a few simple rules: Have as much integrity as possible, be honorable, be punctual, be open-minded, show humility, and focus on the pursuit of happiness. Do what you love.
I figured out a few years ago that if you figure out your ‘why,’ as in why you do what you do, everything else will fall into place. My ‘why’ a long time ago is to aspire to inspire people, and I’m just using fashion to tell that story.
If you want to travel the world, become a flight attendant! You don’t necessarily have to be an influencer or a tastemaker. People appreciated my opinion, which I feel fortunate about, which is why people put me in that box. I didn’t ask for it. For me, the most important thing is to work on the work, and the benefits—the travel, the brand collaboration—are a byproduct of that.
Is legacy something you think about?
I don’t focus on it, but the mark you leave on the world is very important. You want people to be prideful when they speak about you. You want people to respect you. You want people, when you’re dead and gone, to look back at what a good and inspiring person you were. At the end of the day, I’m not saving the world here, but eventually I would love to get into the space where I can really help people in a meaningful way. If fashion is my gateway, then I’ll use it.
Do you have any favorite golfers?
Like everyone, I’d say Tiger Woods. He’s a minority in the space. I read his story over the years. I saw commercials where he said that even though he was the world champion, he still wasn’t allowed to play in certain golf courses because of the old racist guard. He’s always someone I looked up to as a golfer. I know his personal life took a bit of a hit because of how he acted, and that’s where integrity comes into play. But I can’t judge a man on his personal life, because I don’t know the circumstances of his story. As a golfer, though, he was a man I respected.
Marcus wears the Nike MM Fly Blade Polo, Nike Hyperadapt Aerolayer Jacket, TW Adaptive Fit Pant, Flyknit Chukka, and Ultralight Tour Perforated Hat. Shop his entire look at nike.com/golf.