Au/TiO2 nanohybrid materials have attracted significant attention due to the outstanding optical, photocatalytic and photovoltaic performance. We use customized polymer templating to achieve TiO2 nanostructures with different morphologies. Au/TiO2 hybrid thin films are fabricated by sputter deposition. An in-depth understanding of the Au morphology on the TiO2 templates is achieved with in situ GISAXS during the sputter deposition. The resulting Au nanostructure is largely influenced by the TiO2 template morphology. Based on the detailed understanding of the Au growth process, characteristic distances can be selected to achieve tailored Au nanostructures at different Au loadings. For selected sputter-deposited Au/TiO2 hybrid thin films, the optical response with a tailored localized surface plasmon resonance is demonstrated.